Monday, January 03, 2011

We Did Prohibition One Better

What the feds couldn’t do eighty years ago, we did in one day: the speakeasy down the street disappeared in a blaze of glory and a bulldozer.

It hasn’t been active in many years, of course, but it was still there in all its glory just waiting for that law to raise its illogical head and show how the Noble Experiment never was that noble. Well, it may have been noble in concept, but the experiment fizzled mightily. How people voted for it is a mystery to me and possibly others, as well.

The house didn’t come down just because there was an ancient cash register there, along with all the other appurtenances which belongeth to a house of illegal spirits. Still echoing from the walls, if all is quiet and you listen closely, are the sounds of laughter, clinking glasses and the faint sounds of police sirens coming up the street.

North Franklin Street was a fairly comfortable address; middle and upper-middle class residences, one which stood out from others by its size and age. Our house of some repute was an average home, perfect for hiding What Shall Not Be Spoken Of. The back door led to an alleyway, Spencer Lane, and then to another slight street.

We have become too pure these days. The cops busted a barber shop for having a few slot machines in the back room; big deal, says I. What’s to be harmed in a small town without a little naughty? We had a front here on Main Street frequented by cops, lawyers, a district magistrate and a judge. A few bucks here and there, no problem.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to learn about your blind pig.........


January 04, 2011 8:23 PM  
Blogger Tom Carten said...

The term "blind pig" (or "blind tiger") originated in the United States in the 19th century; it was applied to lower-class establishments that sold alcoholic beverages illegally. The operator of an establishment (such as a saloon or bar) would charge customers to see an attraction (such as an animal) and then serve a “complimentary” alcoholic beverage, thus circumventing the law.

“In desperate cases it has to betake itself to the exhibition of Greenland pigs and other curious animals, charging 25 cents for a sight of the pig and throwing in a gin cocktail gratuitously.”[4]

“[They] are in a mysterious place called a ‘blind tiger,’ drinking the very bad whiskey for which Prohibition is indirectly responsible.”[5]

The difference between a speakeasy and a blind pig was that a speakeasy was usually a higher-class establishment that offered food and entertainment. In large cities, some speakeasies even required a coat and tie for men, and evening dress for women. But a blind pig was usually a low-class dive where only beer and liquor were offered.

Blind pigs continue to exist in the United States. Some people sell alcoholic beverages for off-site consumption from their homes (often at double the retail price, or more) during hours when legal sellers are closed by law, and some people operate bars illegally

January 04, 2011 10:17 PM  
Blogger Tom Carten said...

Isn't there a place in Lower Town named the Blind Pig?

January 04, 2011 10:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Lower Town? Non, le Cochon Dingue,,,,,a blind pig up here iis /was called ''un petit canot''

Le Cochon Dingue is a resto near the ferry landing. Touristy place


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