Monday, October 24, 2016
Triple cars – The booze runners would travel in groups of three. Three vehicles, one with the alcohol and two decoy vehicles. The Choice of vehicle back in those days was the Buick. The alcohol was stored in a metal tank under the back seat. All the cars had a tank so all were weighted equally. The two decoy cars were loaded down with bricks. The reason for the equal weight was to leave the same track on dirt, muddy roads or grass when sneaking across the border. If the two decoy cars were not weighted down, the police could follow the car with the deeper tracks. The three cars would travel in line. The Booze car generally drove the speed limit, while the decoy cars would be speeding. If they were chased by the law, the two decoy cars would split and go in different directions. If the decoy cars were caught the worst they would get was a speeding ticket. With the law enforcement people busy with the decoy cars, the booze car was free to travel on to Minot or wherever their destination was.
Friday, October 21, 2016
High Third Street – There were a number of businesses that flourished on Minot’s High Third Street. Third Street over the years was the home to Bars, Restaurants, Hotels and houses that participated in illegal activities that ranged from illegal alcohol sales during Prohibition, after hour alcohol sales, high stake card games and prostitution. Some of those Third Street Businesses were: The Avalon, The Coffee Bar, Metrol Café (Saul’s Barbecue), Famous Pit Barbecue (Twilight Inn & Kay’s Café), The Grill, and later after Third Street was shut down, The Flame in Radio City. Business was brisk until 1960 when the Jaycee’s mounted a successful campaign to close down the area. Pictured is the Vendome Bar and Saul's BarBQue and the Coffee Bar
Thursday, October 20, 2016
– the Grill was located at 316 third St. SW… The Grill was a part of the area known as “High Third” although it did not have the reputation of some of the other businesses on Third St. Dee Dee Govan operated The Grill for many years. He acquired the property from “Ma” Butler, a legend on Third Street and the subject of another article. Dee Dee served pretty good food and at times would offer coffee laced with liquor, if so desired. After the decline of Third St. The Grill was home to Dee Dee’s Hot Tamales. He made them, packaged them and sold them out of The Grill. I was offered a job by Dee Dee selling the Hot Tamales when I was driving truck for Coca Cola Bottling back in the late 60’s.
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
High Third Street – There were a number of businesses that flourished on Minot’s High Third Street. Third Street over the years was the home to Bars, Restaurants, Hotels and houses that participated in illegal activities that ranged from illegal alcohol sales during Prohibition, after hour alcohol sales, high stake card games and prostitution. Some of those Third Street Businesses were: The Avalon, The Coffee Bar, Metrol Café (Saul’s Barbecue), Famous Pit Barbecue (Twilight Inn & Kay’s Café), The Grill, and later after Third Street was shut down, The Flame in Radio City. Business was brisk until 1960 when the Jaycee’s mounted a successful campaign to close down the area
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Bienfait, Canada – The Canadian Liquor companies would rent a portion of the railroad depot warehouse in Bienfait. The liquor was stored in a closed off room. They would have a manager in town who would sell what was desired to the bootleggers, not to bars, just to the bootleggers. The depot is still in Bienfait, although it has been moved to different location and is now a museum. However, the original depot was purchased by and moved to a local farmstead about a mile outside of town. The railroad tracks still go through the town. The route out of town goes south to Ross Percy in the Souris Valley, then to Sherwood, splitting off to Columbus and Portal.
Sunday, October 16, 2016
Gun Battle – Minot was also the home of many high speed automobile chases in connection with the bootlegging activities. One national magazine was quoted as saying “Minot has more high performance vehicles per capita than any other city in America”. These powerful cars, Buicks at the time, were the favored car of the bootleggers. One high speed chase resulted in the arrest of the proprietor of the Last Chance Barbershop on Central Avenue. In a shootout, whiskey-runner Avery Erickson was fatally shot by Officer F.S. Fahler, who later died from wounds received in the same encounter. In 1921 when state prohibition forces opened their northwest regional headquarters in Minot, they announced that their cars would be equipped with Browning machine guns. The office was closed a few years later
Friday, October 14, 2016
Little Chicago – Minot had a reputation as a rowdy and “wide open” town. When nationwide prohibition went into effect, Minot became known as “Little Chicago”. It had the reputation as being the most wide open city between Chicago and Butte, Montana. It was believed that the police would raid speakeasies of those who had supported the losing side in the election for city officials. In 1921, soon after W.M. Smart was elected president of the city commission by defeating W.S. Shaw, (a six year incumbent), he was the subject of a recall petition. It was alleged that he allowed gambling and the operation of “Blind Pigs”. (Blind Pigs were illegal drinking establishments.)