Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Prohibition and Hudson

A hundred years ago, the United States was moving inexorably toward Prohibition. The Eighteenth Amendment, which established the prohibition of "intoxicating liquors," had been proposed by Congress on December 18, 1917, and on January 16, 1919, it was ratified by Nebraska, the 36th state to do so, and ratification by the requisite number of states had been achieved. New York was the 43rd state to ratify the amendment, on January 29, 1919; New Jersey was the last, on March 9, 1922, well after Prohibition had taken effect. Connecticut and Rhode Island rejected the amendment.

Prohibition had a significant impact on Hudson. It brought an end to a major industry and employer: C. H. Evans & Sons Brewery. The Hudson city directory for 1918 lists twenty-one businesses classified as "Restaurants & Saloons." There's no way of knowing how many of these establishments served alcohol, but it's reasonable to think most of them did. Prohibition also led to the indictment and eventual conviction in 1922 of Hudson's chief of police John Cruise for dereliction of duty--a story that Gossips told in sixteen parts in 2015 in a series called "The Scandal of 1922."

Given that we are living through the centennial of the events that led to Prohibition in the United States, Gossips has decided to comb the available newspapers regularly, from now until the anniversary of the day Prohibition actually began on January 17, 1920, searching for news or comment about Prohibition. I share my first find today: an editorial that appeared in the Columbia Republican on January 21, 1919, two days after the Eighteenth Amendment had been ratified by the requisite number of states.


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