Hooray for Repeal!

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By Tony Bell

Bars blogger

Did you know that last Wednesday, Dec 5 was the 79th anniversary of the Repeal of Prohibition? It's true and many of us, who appreciate the right to imbibe and the history behind that, celebrate that day as if it were a national holiday. Most people, whether you are a regular patron of the bars on Madison or just an occasional drinker, take for granted that you can walk into your favorite watering hole and order what you want. However, just over three quarters of a century ago, that was not the case. It's hard to imagine today, but there was a time when many Americans supported a constitutional amendment banning the sale, manufacture and transportation of alcohol in this country. That amendment became the law of the land in January 1920, and for 13 years, the country witnessed widespread disregard for law and order, that gave birth to organized crime. The infamous St. Valentine's Day Massacre in Chicago, mobsters such as Al Capone and Lucky Luciano and the "speakeasy" were all part of the culture that we all are familiar with from the movies and on television. Ken Burns produced an excellent 3 part series earlier this year (called "Prohibition") that documented the movement leading up to the 18th amendment, the results of those 13 years, and finally the drive to repeal. The 21st Amendment was ratified on December 5, 1933, repealing the 18th, and they remain in our Constitution as a permanent memorial to the Noble Experiment.

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Carrie from Oak Park  

Posted: December 11th, 2012 12:09 PM

Interesting! Wish I'd known to celebrate on Dec. 5th. Would have loved an excuse to bend an elbow...

Jean Lotus from Editor  

Posted: December 9th, 2012 2:54 PM

Was the Schwarzbach family the first to purchase a new liquor license in Forest Park in 1934? They opened West Town liquors 7339 Madison shortly thereafter, which later became Foremost Liquors and then Famous.

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