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Abercorn’s golden age and the reign of Queen Lill

Prohibition in the United States proved a gold mine for two small communities in Sutton Township located right on the border with Vermont. Glen Sutton and Abercorn became real boom towns. Hotels and bars multiplied. Abercorn, whose population was barely 300, had five.

Photo of the Abercorn House from 1860 to 1935, located at 52 Thibault Street

Abercorn House (1860-1935).






Photo of the New Abercorn House from 1860 to 2000, located at 66 Thibault Street S

New Abercorn House (1860-2000).

Photo of the Prince of Walles from 1833 to 1985, located at 52 Thibault Street

Prince of Wales (1833-1985).

Photo of the International House, formerly the Prince Albert Hotel from 1860 to 2000, located at 66 Thibault Street S

International House, previously named the Prince Albert Hotel (1860-2000).

Photo of the interior of Abercorn House.

Interior of Abercorn House

In 1911 Queen Lill (whose real name was Lillian Miner) bought land straddling the border between Glen Sutton and East Richford. The foundations of a burned out hotel were found, allowing her to rebuild, even though buildings right on the border supposedly weren’t allowed. Her new establishment, called the Palace of Sin, offered sexual services on the upper floors; on the Canadian side of the ground floor, a bar served alcoholic beverages. The Canadian Pacific Railway line connecting Montréal to the American cities of Newport and Boston passed right by the place, so train personnel regularly stopped to let customers off.

Photo of the three-storey Palace of Sins. The Canadian Pacific Railway tracks ran right in front of the building.

This brothel straddling the border gained popularity during prohibition.

Photo of Queen Lill holding a parrot.

The queen of the Palace of Sin.


Dramatisation of Lillian Miner (aka Queen Lill) describing her brothel. View this  video and an English  transcript.

Queen Lill with some of the sheep on the farm where she retired in the mountains of Vermont in 1929.

The farm where Lillian Miner retired after the Palace of Sin closed in 1929.