Cities, like good citizens, work hard to maintain their impeccable images. As a citizen of Frisco, I am proud of our city’s image today, but, believe it or not, there was a time as late as the 1980s when Frisco was known to outsiders as a town with some questionable businesses — so called “massage parlors.” At one time, there were five such businesses located here.
Now, everyone knows there is nothing wrong with a good healthy massage, but Frisco’s massage parlors were known to be sexually-oriented businesses (S.O.B.s), commonly known as “brothels” or “houses of ill repute.” They came here after having been “flushed out” of neighboring cities as development creeped northward. At that time, Frisco was just a little country town, barely a dot on the map, and four of the businesses landed along Texas State Highway 121, on Frisco’s southernmost border. There was the “Doll House,” the “Body Shop,” the “Tub Club” and “Michelle’s Ranch.”
Probably, the most infamous of them all was one called “April’s,” that was located on Preston Road near where La Hacienda Ranch Restaurant is located today. At that time, development on Frisco’s portion of Preston Road consisted of only a few houses, the Lebanon Baptist Church and a service station at the Main Street intersection, so the mobile home with a sign saying “April’s” stood out like a sore thumb to strangers passing by. “What the heck is that?” they wondered, and if they learned the truth, our little town’s image took a hit.
Soon after I moved back to Frisco, in 1981, my cousin, a young, sophisticated lady from Dallas, came to visit me, and one of her first questions shocked me. She asked, “Does Frisco have a whorehouse?” I was surprised that she would use such a word, and I was disappointed that she, like other visitors, had found the bad side of my hometown.
Our city leaders tried desperately to find ways to get rid of these S.O.B.s, but their presence brought many funny stories and supplied the town’s pranksters with lots of ammunition. Here are some of the stories:
A Frisco used car dealer told of the time a stranger stopped and asked for directions to the “body shop.” He said he needed some body work done on his car. The dealer regained his composure long enough to tell the fellow the “Body Shop” did not work on cars.
The former Frisco ISD superintendent, Dr. Wakeland, told me about the time he was expecting a visit from two ladies from the state education system in Austin, Texas. They came in his office giggling, and Dr. Wakeland asked them what was so funny. They said, “As we were coming up Preston Road, we were hungry and saw this cute little building with flowers at the front. It looked like a tea room and had a sign saying ‘April’s,’ so we opened the door to go in, but, when we saw the dim lights and the beads hit us in the face, we knew we were in the wrong place.” They had a good laugh before getting down to the business of the day.
Dr. Wakeland also told of the time he asked his bus driver to take him and a party of school officials to a location for a business meeting. The driver, a big jokester, pulled the bus into April’s and asked Dr. Wakeland if it was the place where they were to meet.
A school district tax collector told of the time when she, always looking for new properties to add to the tax roll, was driving down Preston Road and spotted April’s new mobile home, so she stopped and went in to gather her tax information. The beads and dim lights soon told her what sort of business was going to grace her tax rolls.
Frisco resident David Buck told of a prank some of his friends pulled on him. He said, “Late one night, two of my buddies stole the sign at April’s and planted it in my yard on Main Street.” Mr. Buck said that when his family woke and found the sign, he saw the fun in it, but his wife was livid. She did not think it was funny at all.
Those are just a few of the stories spawned by the old massage parlors in Frisco. There are others — some not fit for mixed company. It was not easy, but Frisco finally rid itself of the little S.O.B.s. Where they went, I do not know, but may they rest in peace, just not in Frisco.