Today, December 5, 2011, marks the 78th anniversary of the 21st Amendment to the Constitution which repealed the 18th Amendment, or Prohibition. Fueled by racism and religious hostility, the desire to rid society of the demon liquor resulted in the formation of several organizations including the Women's Christian Temperance Union and the Anti-Saloon League. The Temperance Movement's successful quest to criminalize the production, sale, and distribution of alcohol resulted in the mostly unsuccessful 18th Amendment. Alcohol was blamed for a great number of society's ills: immorality, unemployment, absenteeism, violence, neglect, and destruction of the family.
However, Prohibition did little to end these conditions and, in fact, only served to drive alcohol production and consumption underground. Bootlegging, rum running and speakeasies became profitable businesses and gave rise to organized crime. Cities, especially, saw tremendous increases in crime following the ratification of the 18th Amendment. From increased violence, gang activity and arrests for drunkenness, to theft and homicide, Prohibition did little to end the evils of alcohol.
Cities were not the only dens of iniquity. Rural areas, especially those close to the Canadian border, became highways for bootleggers, rum runners, and distilleries. The difficulty of enforcement was all too apparent in the Adirondacks, with its network of rural back roads, some known only to locals. Residents of economically deprived regions such as the Adirondacks, most of whom who would never have engaged in illegal activity, saw Prohibition as an opportunity to generate income. Saranac Lake, with its tuberculosis treatment facilities and often affluent patients, was the site of several speakeasies. My own brief research has turned up Prohibition lore throughout the Adirondacks.
Today, I urge you to visit your favorite local tavern to commemorate the occasion. And tell them why you're there.
OUR MISSION - WE'RE PUBLISHED! Wednesday, June 26th, 2013 marked the Premier of our new book, Happy Hour in the High Peaks: An Adirondack Bar Guide. The hardcover, 160 page book can be found at bars and bookstores throughout the Adirondack Park or order online at www.happyhourinthehighpeaks.com. You'll find a list of our book signings on the Events page and where to buy the book on our Retailers page. The book contains reviews of 46 of our favorite bars in the Adirondack Park, and 46 drink recipes with an Adirondack twist. As a companion to the book, we have also published a 46er Passport so that you can follow the Happy Hour Trail to become a Happy Hour 46er and make new friends along the way. Summit Tour t-shirts will be for sale at our book signings or available online. Whether you are a native, resident, or visitor, you'll find 46 more reasons to visit the ADIRONDACK PARK!