The history of Pearl Miller is rather murky, despite her fame, or perhaps notoriety, as one of early Calgary’s most popular figures. Apparently, the biographies of prostitutes were not pursued as avidly as millionaires and social reformers, and Calgary’s most famous prostitute was no exception.
As Calgary developed, in the early part of the 1900’s, it experienced a rush of young, single, and relatively well-paid young men. Being relatively isolated, it was natural that the city would develop the traditional frontier businesses catering to these the interests of this clientele, and the businesses ranged from George Jacques’ jewellery shop to Pearl Miller’s bordellos.
Calgary’s early brothels were located usually outside of the city-limits, and therefore relatively immune from city policing. The brothels surrounded the city: to the west was Diamond Dolly’s, the north, the Langevin Bridge brothels, to the east, the Nose Creek and Nose Hill brothels, and finally, the southern South Coulee brothels. When Miller arrived from British Columbia in the 1920’s, she set up her business close to the downtown core, but then had to move south, still north of the South Coulee locations, close to the intersection of the present Macleod Trail and Heritage Drive.
Her house became the most famous brothel in Calgary, catering to the "carriage trade" clientele – those with ample financial means. She managed extremely well, so well, in fact, that in 1935 she boldly opened a house on the edge of Calgary’s most exclusive residential area – Mount Royal. In 1939, as a result of police pressure and neighborhood complaints, she had to move out of the area, but remained in business until 1950. She then moved back to Mount Royal, converted to the Pentecostal faith, and spent the remainder of her life, until 1957, attempting to reform prostitutes.