Prohibition in Massachusetts
Prohibition in Massachusetts
Jan. 16, 1920: John Barleycorn's "funeral" was staged by Boston Prohibitionists in front of the Morgan Memorial Church of All Nations in the South End as the 18th Amendment's prohibition on alcohol took effect at midnight Jan. 16, 1920. John Barleycorn was the name used to personify barley and of the alcohol made from it. The cortege composed of eight auto trucks, containing 125 cheering and shouting men, women and children, and a city water wagon which featured "Uncle Sam."
Cambridge police Officer Patrick F. Ready had his ax in hand as the police liquor raiding party poured illicit liquor down an East Cambridge sewer. Others in the photo, from left, are Captain Timothy Leahy, an unidentified prohibition agent, Officer Fred Collins, and Officer Timothy Callahan.
Jan. 18, 1932: Two high-powered boats were seized in Boston Harbor. The first captured was the Mary on the left. The Mary was driven aground off Commercial Point, near Victory Road in Neponset. The crew fled. The Buddy (middle) was captured when the Coast Guard patrol boat came upon the boat in the fog. All members of the crew were taken with it, and the haul represented one of the largest seizures of whisky in months. The total value of the two boats, plus their liquor cargos was estimated at about $175,000.
Feb. 26, 1933: One of Boston's better known speakeasies in the North Station district. This one was raided and closed within two months after it opened. Most of the bottles in the picture were empty and were used merely as decoration.
Dec. 24, 1932: Fishermen on Cape Cod were dragging for cases of liquor dumped overboard by a rum-runner who was believed to have a struck a rock and jettisoned the load to save his boat, hoping to get it another night. Most of the cargos were marked, such as the stringing of many cases to a rope, which, if picked up, led to the main part of the cache. News traveled fast if a fisherman ran across the cache and marine traffic increased as others try to find the haul.
Dec. 5, 1933: Celebrations as Prohibition was repealed rivaled that of New Year's Eve. Utah became the 36th state to ratify the 21st Amendment achieving the requisite three-fourths majority of state approvals on this date. Massachusetts cast its repeal vote and ratified the 21st Amendment on June 26, 1933. Mississippi, the last dry state in the Union, ended Prohibition in 1966.
Dec. 6, 1933: Arthur L. Race (left), manager of the Copley Plaza and one of the leaders in the repeal battle among hotel men, had the honor of serving the first drinks in Massachusetts at the Copley Plaza's Merry-Go-Round bar to (from left) Declan Corcoran, an attorney in Senator David I. Walsh's office; Governor Joseph B. Ely, and Senator Walsh. The word had just flashed that Utah had ratified the 21st Amendment and repeal was a reality when Ely and Walsh arrived at the hotel. "What'll it be gentlemen?" the governor and senior senator were asked. "Martinis," was the decision.
Dec. 5, 1933: The perfect man to toast the return of liquor on Dec. 5 was Theodore A. Metz, who crooned his famous ballad, "Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight," to co-ed Claire Sasser at one of numerous repeal parties being held in New York City.
May 10, 1935: Repeal of Prohibition in Massachusetts didn't end the smuggling of liquor, in this case, to avoid paying liquor taxes. Here, federal agents and state troopers examined a carpenter's bench at the Sea View Poultry Farm in Fairhaven on May 10 because of a strong odor of alcohol. They uncovered 2,500 cases of "alki," allegedly part of the recently unloaded cargo of the British motorship Accuracy, which was seized after 400 gallons of alcohol valued at $50,000 was alleged to have landed nearby. The ship and crew were held by customs officials in Boston. Previously, 640 gallons of alcohol, believed part of the same cargo, was found in the adjoining town of Dartmouth.