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!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Texas Guinan: Gonfarone's 50-Cent-Special

The year was 1908. Texas Guinan was living on the same shabby block as 61 Washington Square South, a boarding house whose lodgers included aspiring authors such as Willa Cather, John Dos Passos, Max Bodenheim, and Stephen Crane. Since Texas was spending many hours at unpaid rehearsals, listening to her stomach growl, neighbors confided that you could get a decent meal at Gonfarone's for a few cents.

***50-Cent-Meal, Gonfarone's Restaurant, New York, 1920s***
A pint of California red wine, assorted antipasto, minestrone or spaghetti with meat or tomato sauce, choice of main dishes (boiled salmon with caper sauce; sweetbread with mushroom gravy; broiled spring chicken or roast prime ribs of beef), vegetables and salads (spinach, potatoes, green salad), a dessert (biscuit, tortoni or spumoni), fresh fruit, assorted cheeses, and coffee [a 'demi-tasse'].
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Photo: Hotel Gonfarone, 38 West 8th Street at MacDougal Street [circa 1913]

Texas Guinan.