M.A. Theses: Alana Peters, 2011

The Real Wild West: The Archaeology and History of the 'Casa Grande'

 

The Casa Grande is an abandoned ranch located on the Bonaparte Plateau, 50 km northeast of the town of Cache Creek, British Columbia, Canada. Local oral historical accounts state that the property was a brothel throughout the 1930s, serving miners from the Vidette Gold Mine 30 km away. Using archival and oral historical research combined with archaeological excavation, this thesis explores the possibility that a brothel existed at the site. Historical archaeologists have traditionally used a “brothel pattern” of artifact distribution to explore this issue, but the Casa Grande excavation demonstrates that the brothel pattern is not a useful tool when applied to remote rural 20th century sites. No archaeological evidence conclusively related to the sex trade was uncovered, and privacy laws seal much of the recent archival record. Local community members seem reluctant to talk about individual memories of the site for the first half of the twentieth century, and thus the nature of the site during the time period in question remains open.