Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Ketchikan in Ketchikan Gateway Borough, Alaska — Northwest (North America)
 

Star House

Circa 1902

— Bootlegged booze, loose women, hot music and rowdy customers —

 
 
Star House Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, September 4, 2021
1. Star House Marker
Inscription.  
One of Ketchikan's oldest buildings and the Territory of Alaska's only registered brothel.

Infamous owner “Black Mary” Thomas added a dance hall with an inlaid star in the floor, giving the building its name.

Thelma Baker Graham bought the Star in 1924. “Thelma's Place,” as it came to be known, was the Creek's liveliest hot spot offering sporting women, prohibition alcohol, and dancing. “Blind Ernie” played the piano.

After community “reformers” finally shut down business on the Creek in 1954, Thelma lived here until a stove fire ended her life in 1972.

In spite of years of neglect, most of the original cedar siding and trim and many original windows remain. The Star House is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Captions (top to bottom)
• The Star dance hall and brothel, early 1900s.
• Still a brothel, 1950.
• Star customer and friends.
 
Erected by Ketchikan Historic Commission.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: EntertainmentIndustry & CommerceWomen. A significant historical year for this entry is 1902.
 
Location.
Paid Advertisement
Click on the ad for more information.
Please report objectionable advertising to the Editor.
Click or scan to see
this page online
55° 20.544′ N, 131° 38.545′ W. Marker is in Ketchikan, Alaska, in Ketchikan Gateway Borough. Marker can be reached from Creek Street. Creek Street is pedestrian-only. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 5 Creek Street, Ketchikan AK 99901, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. In Defiance of the Dry Squad (within shouting distance of this marker); 'Cat' Houses & Sporting Women (within shouting distance of this marker); Ketchikan Shingle Mill (within shouting distance of this marker); Chief Johnson Totem Pole (within shouting distance of this marker); 20 Creek Street (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Sea and Skyline (about 300 feet away); Carving a Place in History (about 300 feet away); Crossing a Frontier (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Ketchikan.
 
Regarding Star House. Excerpt from the building's National Register of Historic Places registration:
… Under Territorial Law, a house of prostitution was defined as one with three or more women living in it. If only one or two women lived in a house, it was classed as a private residence and exempt from police inspection. Many shacks built on pilings and connected by a plank walkway with one or two residents lined Ketchikan Creek. The Star was an exception. Larger than the other buildings
Star House Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, September 4, 2021
2. Star House Marker
along the creek, the Star had more than three women residents. …

 
Also see . . .  The Star (Ketchikan, Alaska). Wikipedia entry on the infamous brothel, whose prostitutes included Dolly Arthur, who would later open her own brothel, Dolly's House. (Submitted on September 17, 2021, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.) 
 
The Star image. Click for more information.
via NPS, unknown
3. The Star
National Register of Historic Places: Digital Archive on NPGallery website entry
Click for more information.
Star House in 1950 image. Click for full size.
via Creek Street Historic Property Survey / public domain, 1950
4. Star House in 1950
It became an apartment building after the city banned prostitution in 1954. It was completely restored in 1991 and added to the National Register two years later.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 15, 2021. It was originally submitted on September 17, 2021, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 507 times since then and 142 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 17, 2021, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.   3. submitted on November 15, 2021, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York.   4. submitted on September 17, 2021, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Share this page.  
Share on Tumblr
m=182087

CeraNet Cloud Computing sponsors the Historical Marker Database.
This website earns income from purchases you make after using our links to Amazon.com. We appreciate your support.
Paid Advertisement
May. 25, 2024