“Diamond Lil” Davenport

Her real name was Honora Ornstein born in 1882 to a prominent Jewish family in the cattle business in Butte, Montana. She stood about 6 feet tall and sported a diamond stuck in her front tooth, hence the nickname.
Diamond Lil had a “Luxury House” in Skagway. “But Diamond Lil was a courtesan in the fullest sense of the word, only entertaining the obviously rich clients who could pay handsomely for what she had to offer. Nevertheless she was fully entrenched in ‘the world’s oldest profession.’”
After the rush, Lil moved to Seattle where some accounts say she opened another house of ill repute and others say she took a job scrubbing floors.
She was married several times but died at the ripe old age of 93, in June 1975 in Yakima, Washington of insanity (probably dementia).
Seen above, she makes chubby look good.

Martinsen; Allen p 336; Klondike Stampeders Register; Yukon News online



6 Replies to ““Diamond Lil” Davenport”

  1. my favorite thing about the red onion is the short and sweet 15 minute tour upstairs. especially loved the story telling, particularly on diamond lil and all her successes. i’ve seen the tour a few times now because there is something remarkable about this woman that keeps you coming back. 😉
    thanks for this post

  2. Honora Ornstein was known as “Diamond Tooth Lil” NOT “Diamond Lil.” Honora Ornstein was born in Austria.
    Honora Ornstein parents never lived in Butte, Montana.
    Honora Ornstein was not 6′ tall and she never scrubbed floors.
    Honora Ornstein did not work in Skagway – she worked in Dawson.

    1. Great news, what are your sources? I put mine at the bottom of the post, but I can only go on what has been published, if you have family knowledge, we would all love to hear it! Thanks!

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