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Cherry Patch Ranch

 

abandoned brothel - cherry patch ranch and madame butterfly - in crystal, nye county, nevada

 

The Cherry Patch Ranch brothel in the southern Nevada town of Crystal has a storied history. The building, owned by infamous brothel owner Dennis Hof, sits just up the road from the Love Ranch building where Hof’s dead body was found after celebrating his 72nd birthday.

While he unquestionably used his media savvy to build the reputation and advertise his properties, Dennis Hof may not have even been the most interesting personality to have had a hand in the brothels in Crystal…

 

view of the Cherry Patch Ranch in Crystal, Nevada

A view of the Cherry Patch Ranch brothel trailers and adjoining restaurant

 

Maynard “Joe” Richards was born in Duluth, Minnesota, and moved first to Las Vegas, before settling in Nevada’s Amargosa Valley in the 1970’s. At the time, he purchased a 1.25 acre parcel in the town of Crystal for $1500 from someone who had wanted to develop the rural area for housing, but opted to sell off his lots when the plan didn’t work out.

Richards would begin to buy up all the land that he could in Crystal, eventually ending up with over 100 acres.

  A sign marks the abandoned brothel in Nevada

 

Around 1978, Richards moved two small trailers onto his parcel and opened up the Cherry Patch brothel. Starting with six workers, the brothel would add trailers, eventually growing to house over 20 girls.

The operation was noticed by Bill Apfel, who owned the Shamrock Bar in nearby Lathrop Wells. The Shamrock had been the only legal brothel in southern Nye County until Richards’ arrival whose brothel opening occurred around the same time as Walter Plankinton opening the Chicken Ranch in Pahrump. Apfel would engage in a series of activities to vandalize, harass and generally sabotage these newer competing establishments. While Richards managed to avoid the more serious firebombing instigated by Apfel at the Chicken Ranch, the Cherry Patch Ranch saw its signs cut down and the wall surrounding the property damaged.*

 

Hallway to the parlor inside the abandoned Cherry Patch Ranch brothel

A hallway into the parlor at the abandoned Cherry Patch Ranch brothel

On one occasion, the Nye County Sheriff’s Department, later shown to have an especially friendly relationship with Apfel and the Shamrock Bar, delivered a notice to Richards to shut down the Cherry Patch Ranch at noon on a specified date. Noting that closing at noon was the extent of the orders, when the date arrived, Richards brought all of the workers outside of the Cherry Patch at 11am. At 12pm, the Sheriff’s Department put up a barbwire fence around the property while Richards and the workers looked on. A little bit later, Richards asked a deputy what time he had. The deputy responded with around 12:30. Richards then dismantled the barbwire and moved everyone back inside to return to work.

  Parlor and waiting area inside the abandoned Cherry Patch Ranch in Nye County

Parlor room inside the Cherry Patch Ranch

After Apfel’s murder at his Lathrop Wells brothel, Richards bought the property and renamed it the Cherry Patch II, citing it being an ideal location, bringing the number of brothels under his ownership to three – the two Cherry Patch properties as well as Mable’s Whorehouse and Bar, and Madam Butterfly’s Bath and Massage Salon also located in Crystal.

In 2006, Joe Richards was charged with attempting to bribe a Nye County commissioner, allegedly offering to pay Commissioner Candice Trummell in order to rewrite an ordinance that would then allow him to build a brothel at the south end of Pahrump. Trummell had been working with the FBI and recording her phone calls with Richards.

Richards would plead guilty in 2009. With a criminal record, the brothel owner was eventually forced to close his properties.

A buyer appeared in Dennis Hof, who at the time owned properties in Northern Nevada and was looking to expand into the southern portion of the state.

Under his ownership, Hof would rename the Cherry Patch II into the Alien Cathouse, and would change Mable’s Bar into the Love Ranch South, where he focused his attention in Crystal. The original Cherry Patch, standing a few hundred yards away from the Love Ranch, would occasionally appear in the media through several rebranding campaigns – a couple of which included a brothel museum, a Las Vegas Raiders themed brothel catering to athletes which made the news quickly after the announcement the team would be moving from Oakland to Las Vegas, and the opening of a larger casino and nightclub with brothel on the site. While there were little bits of movement on some of these ideas, Hof seemed to focus his energy on the Love Ranch property, and in hindsight, it may have just been the savvy newsmaker’s way of keeping his brothels in the news feeds while adhering to Nevada’s strict laws governing brothel advertisements.

 

abandoned bedroom inside the Cherry Patch Ranch legal prostitution brothel

Inside one of the bedrooms at the Cherry Patch Ranch

The restaurant adjoined to the Cherry Patch Ranch would continue to maintain its alcohol license, and would host occasional events while the trailers that once housed the brothels languished and weathered just down the hall. 

Following his sentencing of time in a halfway house and probation, Joe Richards focused his time on his Pahrump newspaper, The Mirror, which included his weekly column, “On Target: From the Kingdom of Nye”. Richards died in 2021.

Hof would die in 2018, in the midst of a political campaign for Nevada State Assembly, which he posthumously won. The old Cherry Patch Ranch sat abandoned following his death. 

The Cherry Ranch was included with all of Hof’s former properties in the town of Crystal, sold to a cash buyer in 2022.

 

 

legal abandoned brothel in Nevada at the Cherry Patch Ranch

Child’s scribbles on paper kept in one worker’s possessions inside an abandoned bedroom

  VIP room inside abandoned Nevada brothel - Cherry Patch Ranch, belonging to Dennis Hof

Decorating to set the mood inside the trailer bedroom

 

Dennis Hof's abandoned Cherry Patch Ranch bar and brothel in Nevada

 

  desert brothel ruins in Nevada's abandoned legal prostitution brothel

Rooms had platforms for TVs that showed adult movies

  abandoned whorehouse las vegas brothel bedroom at Cherry Patch

 

bathroom inside an abandoned brothel

 

abandoned nevada brothel museum, las vegas raiders themes, belonging to dennis hof

 

legal prostitution and escorts bedroom at Nevada brothel, strange scenes inside the Cherry Patch Ranch

Possessions left behind at the Cherry Patch Ranch

 

Parlor at Cherry Patch Ranch, built by Maynard Joe Richards who wrote In the Kingdom of Nye

Brothel chic – the idea of turning the Cherry Patch Ranch into a brothel museum never materialized

 

cherry patch ranch abandoned

 

vip steam room inside brothel

Steam room inside the brothel

 

The Crystal Springs Bar abandoned

The adjacent Crystal Springs Bar saw more recent use, but also sits abandoned

 

crystal springs bar

 

 

 

 

 

dennis hof campaign for nevada state assembly to do list

 

 

 

 

 

crystal springs bar at cherry patch ranch in nevada

 

 

abandoned Cherry Patch Ranch brothel for sale dennis hof in pahrump, nevada

Adult Fun – Open 24 Hours

 

Cherry Patch Ranch with Love Ranch property at the end of the road

Cherry Patch Ranch with Love Ranch property at the end of the road

 

 

 

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