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Friday, October 31, 2014

Piggly Wiggly on Main Streeet

The first Piggly Wiggly Store opened in the mid 40’s at 213 South Main Street. In 1957, at a cost of $300,000, Piggly Wiggly opened a new store by the Fairgounds. Piggly Wiggly East was one of the largest grocery stores in the state at that time. In 1961 another store opened in the Oak Park Center. The store on Main Street closed in 1960 and shortly after a third store was opened in the Town & County Center. In 1982 the Oak Park store moved to the Arrowhead Shopping Center. At one time Piggly Wiggly employed over 250 people. I worked at the Town & Country store in 1966-67. 

 Piggly Wiggly on Main St.







East Piggly Wiggly

Thursday, October 30, 2014

1967 Largest Shopping Center in Midwest

O n September 16, 1967 plans were disclosed about a new shopping center that was a “certainty” to be developed at the base on north hill on Broadway I  Minot – Crestview Development claimed the Center was “an absolute certainty. It’s just the details. There’s no way in the world it can be stopped”. The Center was to be the largest between Minneapolis and Portland and was to include two major department stores, a major drug store, 750 seat theater, and a 50 X 300 foot convention center. For whatever reason it was never built. The location is now the home to the Hampton Inn Hotel on North Broadway. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Booze Smuggling Hearses

Rowan Funeral Home – This information was given to me by Les Maupin back in 1986 while researching Minot for the Centennial.  Rowans’s Funeral Home was on the corner of Main Street and 2nd Avenue, where Rueb’s Camera and Cards was located. Apparently the owners were affiliated with some aspect of the booze running in the days of Prohibition. I was told that the viewing rooms of Rowan’s Funeral during this time were home to many high stake poker games. Maupin was not sure if they ever actually held any funerals during this time. During Prohibition, the alcohol was brought in in one and two gallon metal containers. Rowan’s Funeral Home would fill a casket, or two, with these cans of booze and load them into the hearse. They had at least one if not more. The hearse would then deliver the booze throughout the country under the guise of transporting a body in a casket. Driving prudently and obeying the speed limits they successfully delivered the product. After all, who would stop and search a casket in a hearse?

Dumping whiskey down the drain

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

High Speed Auto Chases

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.

Prohibition Poster

Monday, October 27, 2014

Run Booze Get a Free Car

 There is a story out there about a well known Booze Runner and free cars. The story says that this individual would offer a free car to anyone who could make three successful runs from Canada to Minot without getting high jacked or stopped by the law. The car was to have been a Buick, reportedly they were the fastest and most powerful vehicle at the time. In fact an entry in a national magazine claims that during the days of prohibition, Minot had more high performance cars per capita than any other city. Back to the free Buick. The problem for any takers on the offer was that if someone made two successful runs, this individual would make sure the third run failed. Since he knew the route and times, he would send his own men out to highjack the shipment so he would not have to give away a Buick.

One of Many Prohibition Posters

Friday, October 24, 2014

Vehicle Turn Around

 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.

Still and Booze captured in the 1920's

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.

Prohibition Poster