Wednesday, October 22, 2014
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.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
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.
Monday, October 20, 2014
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
|The Coffee Bar|
Friday, October 17, 2014
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.
Thursday, October 16, 2014
Besides the highly profitable liquor traffic, Minot was also known for other questionable activities. An illegal drug trade flourished but not at the same scale as the liquor business. Between December of 1922 and December of 1924, enforcement officials cracked down on certain hotels, cafes, and other opium dens, most of them on the infamous Third Street. By the end of 1924, the opium and cocaine traffic was about at an end. In one raid on Third Street police confiscated over $100.00 worth of opium in the form of “decks” and “books”. The street value of a “deck” was $1.00. A “book” contained three times more opium than a “deck”, but it was still a relatively small amount.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
From conversations with people I discovered the following information. Pop Shaw owned a garage on First Street SW. The garage was on the ground level floor and also in the basement. The basement portion of the garage was accessed by an elevator. There was a bowling alley on the second floor. During the prohibition days the third floor was the home of a gambling parlor and an after hours night club. In the early 1900’s Pop Shaw’s Garage was integral to the bootlegging business in Minot. Pop Shaw himself was reportedly a somewhat gruff old man. But Pops Shaw was also a shrewd business man. Many people got their start in business in Minot with the help of Pops Shaw. Often times when local banks would not finance or back business ventures Pops would help individuals out if they had a solid business plan and could convince him that they knew what they were doing. Most often the deal was done with a handshake and a promise to repay.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
At the turn of the century, the area known as High Third was originally located on 1st Street SW, south of Central Avenue. This area also the future home of Harry’s Tire Service, known back then as Pop Shaw’s Garage. The garage was on the main floor and the basement, There was a bowling alley on the second floor. The third floor was a gambling den and after hours night club. The garage was next to what is now Bremer Bank, and had an elevator. The bootlegger cars would enter the garage and the owner would ride the elevator down to the basement with the car full of booze. Rumor had it that he would booby trap the car in case someone tried to steal the liquor, lock it up and walk back up via the stairway. No one knew for sure as nobody was about to risk tripping the booby trap. By the 50’s the top floor was converted to an apartment where the family that the bowling alley lived.