Born on 12 January 1884 in Waco, Mary Louise Cecilia "Texas" Guinan played a gun-slinger and rode bareback in silent films, took New York by storm in 1906, and earned a salary of $700,000 as a speakeasy hostess. Here are highlights from a life led at full speed until 5 November 1933. Meet TEXAS GUINAN!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Texas Guinan & the 6th Avenue El

On November 22nd, 1908 the newspaper New York Telegram printed an interview with Texas Guinan, asking her about her unusual first name. Mary Cecilia Guinan had taken to telling New Yorkers that TEXAS was her real first name.

She loved creating myths about her background and this was only one of the tall tales she would start spreading around.

Meanwhile, as a fledging actress onstage, Texas was still riding public transportation to and from the theatre. Her station was 8th Street on the Sixth Avenue Elevated line. It was located right opposite Jefferson Market Court House, a place she would come to know well during Prohibition. This is how the 8th Street station looked when she used it every day.

Illustration: Sixth Avenue El on West 8th Street: Edward C. Caswell
Texas Guinan.