Dance Hall Girls Of The Old West

By | July 4, 2019

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Diamond Belle Saloon. Source: (

In the Old West, dance hall girls were hired in saloons as a form of entertainment for the men of that time. Not only was it a profitable way for the owners to sell more drinks but also a way to help provide an entertaining evening for the lonely men. Although the men loved it, the “upstanding” women were very much against it and quite suspicious of their presence in the area. They considered the women that were employed by these saloon keepers as provocative women and called them many things such as “painted ladies,” “disgraceful,” “ladies of the night,” and much more. The truth was, though, that most of them would never have even considered prostitution. It was just as degrading to them as it was to the women who were making that assumption about them.  

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Saloon Girls. Source: (

On the contrary, these dance hall girls were making good money without having to stoop to that level. They also got to dress up in bright colored ruffled skirts and petticoats all decorated with fringe, sequins, lace, and other embellishments. Many would carry pistols or daggers on them for protection hiding them either in their bosom or inside their boots.

They even wondered why the “respectable” women would choose the life of being a wife and mother who had to work so hard on the farm along with raising a family. Many of the girls came from farms or mills themselves. A lot of the dance hall girls did eventually become wives later in life after they had saved their money and had nice little nest eggs.