A saloon uses up boys…


The beginings of prohibition

The potential legalization of marijuana is a very hot issue right now… Kym Kemp (AKA Redheaded Black Belt) maintains a blog that touches on this topic quite frequently.

Legalizing or criminalizing certain substances has come up often throughout history. According to Wikipedia,  the first half of the 20th century saw periods of prohibition of alcoholic beverages in several countries:

  • 1900 to 1948 in Prince Edward Island, but for much shorter periods in other provinces in Canada
  • 1914 to 1925 in Russia and the Soviet Union
  • 1915 to 1922 in Iceland (though beer was still prohibited until 1989)
  • 1916 to 1927 in Norway (fortified wine and beer also prohibited from 1917 to 1923)
  • 1919 in Hungary (in the Hungarian Soviet Republic, March 21 to August 1; called szesztilalom)
  • 1919 to 1932 in Finland (called kieltolaki)
  • 1920 to 1933 in the United States

One of local district attorney Stephen Metzler’s newspapers from Sept. 11, 1925 had this interesting (but actually quite horrible) article…

NAVY FLIERS SAFE BOOZE IN GRAVE: Graveyard cache for moonshine

Hi-Jackers hide liquor in Myrtle Avenue Tomb; Discovery made by parents who seek resting place for dead.

Even the sleeping places of the dead are not sacred to local bootleggers and hi-jackers. Myrtle Grove Cemetery, within the past week has been the scene for a cache of illicit liquor… a grave which had been prepared for a child… and which was covered with a slab, was a place selected for the storage of moonshine.

The manner in which the presence of the liquor was discovered was accidental and startling.  The parents of a dead child… were shown the vacant grave.  The slab was lifted from the top, and to the amazement of the attendant as well as the sorrowful parents, the supposedly empty grave was found to contain a large cache of liquor…


After several years, proponents admitted the failure of prohibition, as smuggling and bootlegging became widespread and organized crime  (or in Eureka,  Stephen Metzler)   took control of the booze business.  It was repealed in most places by the early 1930s. 

We’re still working on the marijuana issue.  I am aften baffled by the fact that alcohol is perfectly legal even though, when abused, it is one of the most socially damaging substances we have, while marijuana remains illegal.  

A few years ago I talked to a little boy whose nanny had set up a mini-grow in his closet.  She was busted. And fired.  “That was just really messed up, “ this little guy in a Snoopy t-shirt told me.  “Growing pot in a kid’s room.  Man, that’s just really messed up.”  Not as bad as keeping your stash in a child’s grave, but still not right.


4 Responses to A saloon uses up boys…

  1. Kym says:

    I’m trying to imagine how the nanny thought no one would notice!

    One of my ancestors was a local bootlegger, Cyrus Cole. I hope he wasn’t responsible for the grave incident.

    • lynette77 says:

      I’m thinking the nanny wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. Sad thing was the kid liked her, otherwise…

      Eh, I don’t understand the “navy flier” reference to the stash of booze… though if you get past the obvious mobidness of the location, it was actually pretty darn clever to use the cemetery. I’d like to think the bootleggers knew the grave was empty–and that they weren’t stashing stuff in with bodies, too. Ugh.

  2. I remember reading about an old building in Eureka that they were working on. They had found copper tanks hid in the walls between the studs. They assumed that the tanks were probably used to hold booze during prohibition.

    Nothing like have a nice little stash in your walls for a rainy day!

    • lynette77 says:

      Actually among Metzler’s papers is a court transcript-and the guy testifying says that the D.A.’s office would bring confiscated booze to the basement of the courthouse, then he would grab a few of the beers and bring ’em up to the prosecutor’s office for all to enjoy…
      Must have been a VERY weird time…

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