82-Year-Old Oklahoman Keeps the Memory of "Beer City" Alive

Jul 9, 2015

The 'Beer City Gals' re-enact the history of one of Oklahoma's rowdy pre-statehood towns. Performing in costume are, from left, Pauline Hodges (as "Pussy Cat" Nell Jones), Earlene Schaefer, Pamela French, Virginia Frantz and Vicki Shelburne.
Credit Derrick Ho / The Oklahoman

In the late 19th century, with rigid prohibition laws enacted in Kansas, cattlemen flocked to the thin strip known as “No Man’s Land,” now the Oklahoma Panhandle. When the Santa Fe Railroad arrived in the 1880s, it brought with it droves of cowboys looking for liquor and women, and Beer City was born. Among the entrepreneurs who   came down from Liberal to serve the needs of these cowboys was Nell “Pussy Cat” Jones.

Beer City is a ghost town now, but The Oklahoman reports that Pauline Hodges, is keeping the memory of the Oklahoma Panhandle’s sin city alive by playing the role of Pussy Cat Jones on stage. At 82 years old, Hodges relishes the role and shows no sign of stopping. She’s performed the role more than a dozen times over the last seven years. Hodges explains: "It was easy after dark for Liberal citizens and other folks to sneak out [to Beer City] . . . and have a very good time and get home by morning — all in the dark."