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!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Texas Guinan in Greenwich Village

It was 100 years ago when Mary Louise Cecilia Guinan [1884-1933] arrived in Manhattan - alone, newly divorced, and steeled by self-determination. In Waco, Texas, the Irish-American tomboy had been called "Mayme." She matured into "Marie Guinan," recalled broadcaster Lowell Thomas (in his 1976 autobiography), the demure Sunday school teacher he had a huge crush on. In 1907, the ambitious 23-year-old rented a $2/ week room in 72 Washington Square South and assumed a louder identity: TEXAS Guinan. Soon she made her family move east to join her.
• • "Tex could never have lived anywhere but in Greenwich Village," observed her biographer Louise Berliner, whose grandfather Maxwell E. Lopin was the lawyer who kept the speakeasy hostess out of jail after numerous police raids during the 1920s. Evidently, it was true because - even when she was earning $700,000 a year [$5.5 million today], enough to afford a Park Avenue address - Tex retained her West Eighth Street apartment until her death at 49.

• • Greenwich Village addresses linked to Texas Guinan:
* * * 72 Washington Square South - Tex's first furnished room in NYC
* * * 17 West 8th Street - Tex's large and luxurious apartment
* * * 22 West 8th Street - where Tex housed her showgirls
* * * 75 Washington Square South - where Tex garaged her 2 armored cars
* * * St. Joseph's on 6th Avenue - where Tex and Lew Ney ["Mayor" of Greenwich Village] baptized a baby in March 1927
• • More Texas Guinan - and Mae West - locations will be covered on the tour Sunday August 20, 2006. Reserve at Village Restaurant.
• • WHEN * WHERE * WHAT: Sunday August 20, 2006 at 12 noon, "Mae West and Texas Guinan in Greenwich Village during a Lawless Decade," a tour of the Washington Square area with an emphasis on locations linked to the transgressive careers of Mae West and Texas Guinan during the Roaring 20s. Meet at Village Restaurant, 62 West 9th Street [near Sixth Avenue], where a free exhibition of rare archival images of MAE WEST and TEXAS GUINAN can be viewed from August 17th until August 31st during restaurant hours.
• • Fee includes BRUNCH at Village + gin cocktails right after tour: $25.
• • Rain or shine.
• • Reservations: (212) 505-3355.
• • Subway: IND to West Fourth Street station; PATH Train to 9th Street
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• • envelope: Texas Guinan's bank was on 8th Street & Broadway • 1927

Texas Guinan.