After the gold rush began, brothels quickly appeared San Francisco, visited a friend who happened to be selling her brothel. When the buyer suddenly died, Stella decided to make the purchase herself. Her new landlord was Simeon Duck, a well-connected local politician with a liberal attitude to prostitution. She operated the brothel successfully for many years until Duck died in 1905, the same time as an era of moral reform was emerging. The new Mayor and Police Chief soon met with Stella and they agreed that if she moved to the red-light district the police would not trouble her.
Stella complied, but was forced to move several more times, partly because she was so difficult. She would sue non-paying customers in court, though good sense should have told her not to. When the police arrested her and hauled her into court, she would rage at the magistrate. Her private life also caused problems. She had violent lovers, one of whom “accidentally” shot her in the leg, resulting in it being amputated. Although her Rockwood Manor was the “finest” brothel in town for years, she eventually returned to San Francisco.
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