The Star dance hall and brothel, early 1900s
Bootlegged booze, loose women, hot music and rowdy customers
- 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.
Ketchikan Historic Commission
Colorful Characters & Places
Submitted by: SW