For nearly 40 years, The Cozy Rooms was the most popular brothel in Pendleton. Opened in 1928 by 26-year-old Stella Darby, her brothel is immortalized in Pendleton history, with Darby herself receiving a statue in her honor outside of the location where she used to run her brothel. The bronze statue, unveiled in 2014, cost $18,000.
Typically, brothels have been viewed through a negative lens in America, but Stella Darby was not your typical brothel owner. She never worked in the industry herself, and sincerely believed in helping her employees make their lives better, hoping they would eventually leave the industry. Darby was known to be generous, giving food and more to the needy.
The Cozy Rooms serves as the climax to the Pendleton Underground Tours, which sees an average of 25,000 people each year.
A ticket for the tour is $20 for adults and takes about an hour and a half. If the tour wins you over and has you wondering what it would be like to stay in a brothel from that era, the Pendleton Underground Tours also owns the Working Girls Hotel, a renovated hotel that retains the allure of Victorian era design and style. The neat thing is that a stay here is cheaper than most chain hotels.
I’m kind of ashamed to have lived this long in the Tri-Cities area and have had limited visits to Pendleton, where it seems there are plenty of fun things to do. Time to get out more and visit Oregon!
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