Monday, September 10, 2012
Sally Stanford moved from Baker, Oregon, to San Francisco, California, in 1924 with big dreams and a willingness to go outside the lines to reach them -- way outside the lines. Starting out with speakeasies where she served salty chicken to encourage the customers to drink more bootleg hootch, Stanford eventually broadened her scope to include houses of ill repute. And by 1940, she had opened one of the finest bordellos in the city -- in Nob Hill, no less.
Stanford and her ladies entertained such celebrities as Errol Flynn and Humphrey Bogart and when delegates from around the world met in San Francisco in 1945 to discuss organizing the United Nations, some of their best work was done at Stanford's establishment. As the most successful madam in a world class city, Stanford beat seventeen arrests before retiring as a multi-millionaire in 1949. But she was hardly done. In fact, she was just getting started.
Her next adventure involved opening a fabulous upscale restaurant looking out over the bay in Sausalito, where the likes of Bing Crosby and Lucille Ball could be seen dining with friends on a regular basis. And with her newfound respectability, Stanford managed to win a seat on the Sausalito City Council in the early 1970's and go on to become the Mayor at the age of 72.
Respectable or not, her constituents seemed to like having a Mayor with such a colorful past. So they apparently didn't mind that Sally Stanford's real name was Mabel Busby and she had used a couple of dozen others on occasion -- at least seven of which belonged to her various husbands. In-your-face women know how to do it their way and make people like it.