The Philanthropic Madam of Oil City by John Troesser Born into a "well-to-do" Oregonian family in the early 1900s, Miss Rita (no last name available) left home to become a dancer and vaudeville performer. For a time she even appeared with the famous Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo.
The Great Depression dealt a heavy blow to vaudeville and Rita 's once-promising career was cut short. During her first marriage (again no last name available) she became a prostitute. The circumstances of her entrance into the profession aren't known, but she soon decided to end her marriage and fled to Beaumont, a town she may have first seen on the vaudeville circuit. T she plied her trade in the Crockett Street area at an address owned by a Mr. Charles Ainsworth . She took a liking to Mr. Ainsworth's son Nathaniel and the two were wed. Marrying the son of the "landlord" was a sure way out of the business, but not everyone could've pulled it off. Nat and Rita spent some years getting established, but when they had saved enough money, they purchased Beaumont 's Shamrock Hotel, a modest hostelry on Bowie Street . Nathaniel died in 1946 and Rita shed herself of the Shamrock and bought the Dixie . Using her refined taste and her hard-won knowledge of the business, Rita decorated the Dixie lavishly and employed unusually attractive and well-mannered women that were sure to produce word-of-mouth advertising.
Revenue from the hotel provided a comfortable upbringing for Rita 's children and she acquired sizeable real estate holdings. Her daughter was sent to a distant Catholic girl's school and it wasn't until she was in her mid-teens that she discovered the real reason the Dixie did so much more business than its competitors.
The story could've ended t with Rita becoming fabulously wealthy and retiring to Florida , but she was one of those rare individuals with a social conscience. The third floor of the Dixie H otel was reserved for older men who had no other place to go. At a time when cheap hotel rooms were a dollar a day - Rita provided lodging (with meals) for seven dollars a month. She gave generously to little-league teams, churches, and even sent a priest through seminary. In early 1961 when vice and corruption in Beaumont reached such levels w they could no longer be ignored, the quiet operations of the Dixie came to light as well. A five man panel called the "James Committee" held three-days of televised hearings that exposed narcotic trafficking, liquo...