Sally Stanford Part 1
The Grand Dame of Madams
Sally Stanford was often referred to as the Grand Dame of Madams. She was the Queen of the bordellos in San Francisco in the 1920's to 1940's. Her business venture attracted rich and famous clients from around the country, if not the world. Her best-known bordello was located at 1144 Pine Street in San Francisco. Herb Caen even claimed that the United Nations was formed there because the delegates convened there and most of the negotiations took place in the bordello's living room.
Sally was born Mabel Busby in Baker, Oregon in 1903. She was the second oldest of five children. She began working at the age of 6 in a deli and by age 7 she convinced local golfers to let her work as a caddy. Her formal education ended with the third grade. Despite the lack of formal education she was very intelligent and quite the businesswoman. She moved to Southern California at the age of 18 where she entered the business of bootlegging during prohibition. During the period where Al Capone was machine-gunning fellow bootleggers, she fed salty roast chicken to her speakeasy customers to heighten their thirst.
Sally Stanford Part 2
In 1949 Sally decided it was time to close her brothel and moved across the bay and opened a restaurant, Valhalla, in Sausalito. Later she ran for city council and ran six times before being elected in 1972 and when asked why she was so tenacious in her bid for the council seat, she explained, "We sinners never give up." In 1976 she became the Mayor of Sausalito. She often joked that she liked hearing herself addressed as "Madam Councilwoman."
About the Family
Judy Thomas is Sally Stanford's great niece and she has lived on the Sally Stanford Ranch since 1994. She and her son, David, are trying to keep the legacy of their Aunt alive by opening the ranch in Kenwood to short term rentals. Judy is a pharmacist and David works for a real estate software company. David truly loves a great wine and can offer some recommendations on where to go tasting in the area.