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Bathtub Gin And Bootleggers: St. Louis' Wild Prohibition Years

The Lone Wolf Club, shown here, was a speakeasy during Prohibition. The club, which stood at the edge of what is now Castlewood State Park, later became a private tavern.
Castlewood State Park
The Lone Wolf Club, shown here, was a speakeasy during Prohibition. The club, which stood at the edge of what is now Castlewood State Park, later became a private tavern.

The 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution established the prohibition of alcohol in the U.S. Enforcement of the new law started on Jan. 17, 1920.

In this episode of St. Louis on the Air, we recognize the 100th anniversary of Prohibition by diving into St. Louis’ rich Prohibition-era history.

From left, Cameron Collins, Tracy Lauer, and Sean Rost joined Sarah Fenske for an evening of conversation at the Schlafly Tap Room.
Credit Honor Fredrick | St. Louis Public Radio
From left, Cameron Collins, Tracy Lauer and Sean Rost joined Sarah Fenske for an evening of conversation at the Schlafly Tap Room.

Before a live audience at the Schlafly Tap Room, Sarah Fenske spoke with local author and historian Cameron Collins, author of the St. Louis history and drinking blog “Distilled History,” Anheuser-Busch archivist Tracy Lauer, and Sean Rost, an oral historian for the State Historical Society of Missouri and the Missouri Humanities Council.

They described the time robbers siphoned off 3,000 barrels of whiskey from the Jack Daniel's distillery, replacing them with vinegar in the middle of the night. They explored how Anheuser-Busch survived more than a decade of a nationwide ban on alcoholic beverages. And they told the tale of a 1922 New Year’s Eve party at the Chase Park Plaza Hotel when an enforcement raid led to plates being thrown, shots being fired and pandemonium spilling out onto Lindell Boulevard. 

Hear the conversation:

This Kitchen Sink Series event was sponsored by Carol House Furniture.

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan. The engineer is Aaron Doerr, and production assistance is provided by Charlie McDonald.

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.

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Emily is the senior producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.

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