Nell + Jean: Meet Two Notorious Madams of Grand Junction
Meet two notorious madams of Grand Junction, Nell Page, and Jean Harris. Here's the story of how they began running brothers or ladies' boarding houses.
Gambling, saloons, and prostitution are all apart of Grand Junction's history as a town in the wild west. In the early years of the twentieth century, there were two areas where you could find 'ladies' boarding houses' or brothels in Grand Junction. You could find the 'Barbary Coast' on the 100 and 200 blocks of Colorado Avenue and 'The Row' on the 500 Block of South Avenue.
The two women pictured above (and below) are Nell Page and Jean Harris. They're both madams of two of the brothels on The Row, which was on the 500 Block of South Avenue. Nell was also known as Nelle, Nellie, Nellie G, and 'Broken Jaw Nell.'
Nell was shot in the jaw by a customer in Leadville when she was younger, hence the nickname. According to the Historical Photos of Fruita & Western Colorado's Facebook page, it's likely that both Nell and Jean started off as prostitutes before they began running brothels.
Nell ran a brothel at 550 South Avenue in 1916, listing it as 'furnished rooms' in the Grand Junction directory. Then she moved to 538 South Avenue, which was a 'lodging house' where she remained until her death in 1933.
In 1909, Jean was at 550 South Avenue and it's unknown whether she was a keeper or inmate. In 1910 she was at 362 South Avenue, in 1912 she was at 561, in 1916 it was 520 and in 1918 she was at 534 South Avenue, right next door to Nell's. in 1946 she moved to 530 South Avenue where she lived until her death.