On New Years Eve, 1922, the Chase Park Plaza was Saint Louis’ newest and finest hotel. Prohibition was in effect, so one might expect that the festivities at the Chase were somewhat muted that night. That was not the case at all, the city’s finest were out in force and they were drinking. Prohibition enforcement agents raided the party going on in the main ballroom. They tried to arrest a party-goer, but were confronted by the riled and angry ballroom turned mob. An agent’s gun went off and three people were wounded.
I’ve been reading Wetter than the Mississippi: Prohibition in St. Louis and Beyond, a book by Robbi Courtaway that describes Saint Louis during the era of Prohibition. It describes the history of Prohibition, with particular emphasis upon the Saint Louis area. The book begins with the recounting of a 1922 New Years Eve party at the Chase Park Plaza. Prohibition was only a couple of years underway that night, so the gangsters and their violence were still in the future. The events of that night shocked Saint Louis, most likely because they occurred to the city’s social elite.
During Prohibition, you were either a wet or a dry, unless you were a closeted wet masquerading as a dry. Nowadays, there are echoes of that era in the current war on drugs. Prohibition was passed by a constitutional amendment. It was also repealed by one. Our founding fathers made sure that the process of amending the Constitution would not be an easy one. It took the Great Depression and the need for tax revenue to bring legal drinking back to America. One only has to look to California and its current proposition to legalize and tax marijuana, to draw analogies.
Anne and members of Team Kaldi’s are pictured above. These team members manned the Kaldi’s rest stop on last weekend’s three-day MS charity walk. Their rest stop took second place, as voted by the participants, in the best rest stop contest. The picture of grillin’ Dave, I lifted off his Facebook feed. There are rumblings that Dave is in a relationship. He has a degree and he can cook, he is trainable. Today’s header shows a little house on the prairie, a little sod house that is. This house is at the Shaw arboretum. One door, two windows and a whole lot of dirt, our Great Plains pioneers didn’t have it easy.