News of the San Gabriel Valley since 1966.

‘Time Jockey ’ : JACKSON

by Joe Castillo

Foothill Gold  ….   The City of Jackson, California is filled with stories which could only come from a gold rush town. Nestled in the Sierra foothills about 40 miles east of Sacramento, today Jackson is a quaint little town with modern amenities as well as its historical roots. Even though it was a popular mining town in the 1850’s, it is best known as the last California town with legal prostitution. In the 1850’s it was referred to as ‘Bottileas’ for the many abandoned whiskey bottles which were thrown into the creek which ran through the heart of the town. The first Bordello opened around the year 1850. From that time on there were 3-4 bordellos in operation at any one time but there were never any complaints to Jackson City Council. The houses continued to operate until 1956 when State Attorney General Edmund  ‘Pat’ Brown Sr. decided to file a complaint and closed down the Jackson houses and gambling halls. On February 14, 1968, a group of local businessmen decided to dedicate a plaque to the ‘Ladies of the Night.’ A committee was formed by the businessman to arrange for the dedication. They named their committee the ‘Environmental Resources Enabling Committee to Investigate Our Necessary Services.’ The Committee presented their idea for the dedication to the Mayor and the Chief of Police, both of whom agreed with the proposal. After receiving approval, the Committee selected placement of the plaque just 50 yards from Scarlett Row. They then proceeded to order a bronze plaque with verbiage of the event and added the acronyms of the Committee at the bottom of the plaque, (I’ll let you figure that one out). Reporters throughout California were invited to record the event and came from San Francisco and Los Angeles to cover the unveiling. Phone calls were received from irate citizens who demanded the plaque be removed and destroyed. The problem went to the Jackson City Council, but the council refused to act on the complaints.  During the evening, adventuresome entrepreneurs made a plastic cast of the real plaque and then proceeded to make copies of the original plaque. Another set of more mischievous mischief makers, poured a bucket of red paint over the original plaque. This act was exactly what the irate citizens wanted and complaints quit coming in. The plaque was removed and the acronyms of the old committee name were removed and replaced with the acronyms for the new committee name which was known as ‘Western Historical Organization (WHO). In 1992, the original plaque was donated to the Amador County Museum. On July 16, 1999, a rededication of the plaque took place and the ‘Heart Shaped’ plaque found its permanent resting place in the City of Jackson with the rest of its unique and interesting stories….

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