Road trip to La Grange: The Chicken Ranch and beyond

LA GRANGE, TX (KTRK) -- Halfway from Houston to Austin, you find an unassuming city forever tied to Eyewitness News History. La Grange has a population less than 6000. It sits along the Colorado River, and residents name the county courthouse and quilt museum as its biggest attractions.

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Digital Extra: Texas Quilt Museum

But the Chicken Ranch has made the sleepy city a household name. The kind of name you don't necessarily want your kids to know about.

"It's not a popular subject," explained Karey Bresenhan, who runs the Texas Quilt Museum. "They don't really want La Grange to be defined by the Chicken Ranch."

"I don't know a whole lot. I just remember it as a kid being very embarrassing," laughed Faith Frerichs, who runs The Jersey Barnyard with her family. "Our community was made fun of."

The Chicken Ranch brothel was shut down in 1973 after an investigation by Eyewitness News reporter Marvin Zindler.

Today, the ruins sit on private property, and the owner is working to get a historical marker.

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"History has become very interesting and appealing to so many people. Whether it be tantalizing history such as the Chicken Ranch or whether it be revolutionary history," said Stacey Norris, with the La Grange Main Street Tourism Department. "I will tell you that they walk into the Visitor's Center and they know about Chicken Ranch it's like, 'oh, haha the Chicken Ranch' and then they're like, 'okay, what else can I see in La Grange?"

Everything you wanted to know about The Chicken Ranch.

La Grange Visitors Bureau

Jersey Barnyard

Quilt Museum

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