Reading with Heather Branstetter
A small town in North Idaho is famous for two things: mining...and sex. Heather Branstetter's Selling Sex in the Silver Valley: A Business Doing Pleasure delves into the history of Wallace, Idaho and the Silver Valley region huddled in the Coeur d'Alene Mountains. Once one of the world's largest producers of silver, the early 90s gave way to regulated--but public--redlight districts. "The madams enjoyed unprecedented status as influential businesswomen, community leaders and philanthropists" in a time where most brothels were in hiding (source). Introducing never-before-published archived materials and oral histories, the (not-so) secrets of the Silver Valley are brought to life in Branstetter's newest title.
Once the largest silver producer in the world, Wallace became notorious for labor uprisings, hard drinking, gambling and prostitution. As late as 1991, illegal brothels openly flourished because locals believed that sex work prevented rape and bolstered the economy, so long as it was regulated and confined to a particular area of town.