Sunday, June 2, 2019

Prohibition Stories from the Adirondacks

I’m sure each corner of the Adirondacks has its own stories of bootleggers, moonshine, and the 18th Amendment prohibiting the production, sale, and transportation of alcoholic beverages.

Adirondack Almanack founder John Warren has one in his family. Families in little Beaver River over in Herkimer County, and in Hague and Witherbee have stories, as does about every family that remains from that time.

Each year Chestertown remembers the Prohibition Era with its Rum Runners Weekend and the 3rd Annual Wilmington Historical Society Whiskey Run on June 15th features a speakeasy.

As the centennial of the start of Prohibition approaches, the Adirondack History Museum in Elizabethtown is also showcasing Adirondack stories from the era.

On June 20th there will be a showing of the first episode of Ken Burns’ PBS documentary Prohibition. Guest lecturer Richard Hamm will be at the museum on June 27 to answer questions about the Temperance Movement which inspired Prohibition.

Two exhibits at the Museum follow a similar theme. “Bootleggers and the Law in the Adirondacks” delves into the issues of crime and justice along the regional bootlegging routes between New York City and Canada.

The second exhibit, “Adirondack Suffragists: The Temperance Movement” showcases some the opposition to the consumption of alcohol that led to the passage of the 18th Amendment and the institution of nationwide prohibition on January 17, 1920.

You can read more about the Museum’s other exhibits and programs, and find out details about how to visit, on their website.



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Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities guidebook series, Adirondack Family Time. She writes about ways to foster imaginative play through fun-filled events and activities in the Adirondack region.

From her home in Saranac Lake, Diane also writes a weekly family-oriented newspaper column for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and keeps her own blog Adirondack Family Time. Her writing and photography has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines, marketing companies and advertising agencies.

She even finds time to assist her husband with Adirondack Expeditions guiding families and young adults in the High Peaks.

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