My favorite Chicago history book is called "Sin in the Second City," and it's about the Everleigh Club. Located in the Levee District (more about that another time), it was the most luxurious and famous brothel in Chicago history.
Now, I'm not trying to say prostitution is glamorous, but this place was as close as you could get. So glamorous that even the Prince of Prussia stopped by. And if you were going to be a prostitute, this was the place to work. The girls had to be at least 18 year, well read, pretty and undergo regular doctor exams. No drug use, and no forced labor.The clientele was extremely refined and wealthy, and the girls made a very nice salary. They lived in extremely decadent surroundings, making them more courtesans than prostitutes.
Even if you haven't heard of the Everleigh Club, you've most certainly heard a few references to it:
The term laid - as in "I just got laid" - came from the Everleigh Club. Gentlemen would joke about getting "Everleighed," which was eventually shortened to "leighed" and then spelled how we know it today.
Marshall Field Jr. died from a gunshot wound in 1905. While the accident was officially said to have happened at home, it's debated that he was shot by one of the Everleigh girls.
Have you ever heard the saying that champagne should be drunk from the slipper of a beautiful lady? When the King of Prussia was visiting the Everleigh Club, one of the girl's slippers flew off and spilled champagne. One of the members of the prince's entourage drank the champagne inside the slipper, and the trend stuck.
There's a new Everleigh Club in town, although this one is completely legal. The Everleigh Social Club was founded by the amazing Michelle L'amour and is an extension of Studio L'amour. This private club that celebrates the "Beautiful Life" and a new artistic movement called Cyprianism. The club puts on regular events like Naked Girls Reading, a monthly cocktail club and burlesque shows. I'm fascinated by this and hope to one day have the stones to go.
Filed under: Did You Know, Chicago?
Tags: champagne ladies slipper, Chicago, Chicago Everleigh Club, Chicago history, Chicago Levee District, Chicago Quirk, Cyprianism, Everleigh Club, Everleigh Sisters, Everleigh Social Club, Everleighed, Levee District, Marshall Field Jr, Marshall Field Jr death, Marshall Field Jr Murder, Michelle L'amour, Naked Girls Reading, Sin in the Second City, Studio L'amour