Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Kansas City and Prohibition

Missourians rejected statewide prohibition in three separate referenda in 1910, 1912 and 1918. Carrie Nation, the famous face of the temperance movement, was actually arrested in Kansas City for smashing liquor bottles with a hatchet. The 18th Amendment imposed prohibition on Missouri in 1919. But Kansas City remained largely unaffected.

The city was run by Democrat brothers James and Tom Pendergast during prohibition. Thanks to the Pendergast machine prohibition simply never existed in reality. The bars were kept open and the liquor flowed. The federal prosecutor was on the Pendergast payroll and never brought a single felony prosecution to trial under the Volstead Act.

The editor of the Omaha Herald, remarked, "If you want to see some sin, forget about Paris. Go to Kansas City."

Men ignoring prohibition; source of photograph unknown, originally
found on Pinterest

That's what Kansas City, Missouri, was like when Maggie (Hutchison) Melching and Ruth (Hutchison) Combs lived there.

Prohibition was finally repealed in 1993.

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