|Still and Booze captured in the 1920's|
Friday, October 24, 2014
A scenario for at least one of the Revenuer’s in Minot: When his car arrived at their destination there was a “turn around” in the garage . The “Turn Around” was a very large motor driven turn table. Upon driving into the garage, the car would drive onto the “turn around” and the vehicle was turned around so it was facing the same direction it had entered from. This way it could make for a hasty exit without having to back out of the garage. It could just drive straight out, often in hot pursuit of a bootlegger. In my investigations there is a house close to Downtown Minot that has the turn around in the garage. Not sure if it is functional or not.
Thursday, October 23, 2014
When the booze running car or cars got to their destination in Minot, a number of scenarios were possible. Some of the garages had special elevators. When the car entered with the booze, it would drive into a special elevator. This would either raise the car up to the floor above or lower it to the floor below. If followed by officers, they would enter the building and find no vehicle. By the time they would conduct a search, the booze would have been unloaded and stashed safely or moved to another location.
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.