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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Raids in the 1930's

Liquor Raid – Destruction Device – at 32 Central Avenue East a device had been constructed so that liquor packed around it would be destroyed by fire when the current was on. The device consisted of a small wire coil in a concrete enclosure. Around the coil were shavings and other flammable material. Mixed in with this were the bottles of liquor. When the current was turned on it would ignite the material and heat the bottles enough for them to be destroyed thereby eliminating evidence. When agents barged into the room, they unplugged the device. The bottles had not heated up enough to explode and destroy the evidence.

Liquor Raid Evidence – A heavy door from one off the raided establishments was removed from its hinges and brought into the courtroom. It has “three thicknesses of lumber and 5 locks” . Officers were impressed by its durability. Also found were hundreds of empty liquor bottles, pretzels and small glasses. Slot machines were also found in some establishments and many Canadian product labels. This led the authorities to believe that the liquor was produced locally and falsely labeled as being Canadian

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

High Third Ladies

The ladies of Third Street were regular customers at many of the best clothing stores in Minot. They had their own shopping time. Years ago, all the stores in downtown Minot were open every Thursday evening until 9:00 pm. Since the stores were open later in the evening they would open later in the morning, on Thursdays. Many of the stores like S&L, Bader’s and others would open between 8:00 am and 10:00 am just for the Ladies of Third Street to shop. They would always pay in cash and were always done shopping by the time the stores opened for regular business. The Ladies of Third Street would spend a lot of money and did not disturb the regular shoppers and could shop in peace.

Third Street Residents

Monday, November 24, 2014

Bck from Vacation

To all who follow this blog....
I was not here the past week as I was burning up (so to speak) on of the two weeks of vacation I have to use by the end of the year or I lose them. This year I am going to try to get all my weeks used ... something that has not happened in a long time.
Suffice it to say the weather cooperated and I was able to get many projects finished around the house before the snowy and colder weather set in...
I did get the house decorated for Christmas, at least the outside of the house. I did not get as much finishing work done on the clocks I am making but I did get a couple new Christmas Items ready for staining.
Now..... back to business as usual... below are a few of my completed projects

Friday, November 14, 2014

Third Street Leadership

This individual controlled what happened on Third Street. Because of his control over the Third Street area, things were rather peaceful. The area pretty much was self policed. One of the local, well know individuals on Third Street, we will refer to him as Jim, had an altercation with the “Mayor” and slapped him. The “Mayor of Third Street” looked at Jim and told him he had until evening to get out of town. Jim left town and went to Winnipeg. Jim did not return until the “Mayor” died.. This occurred on a hunting trip. The “Mayor” and a number of his cronies were out hunting and drinking. The practice was to have someone sitting on the front fenders of the car as they drove along looking for game. They group was driving down a corn field looking for pheasants. When they got to the end they noticed the “Mayor” was not on the front of the car. He was lying in the field. They had run over him breaking both legs. His friends took him to town and to the hospital. He died within 2 days due to an infection. After that, Jim was able to safely return to Minot.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Raids on High Third Street

Back in the 50’s, as the story goes, there was a raid on one of the houses on Third Street. One of the women in the house was found hiding inside a kitchen cupboard. She had crawled in and shut the door, hoping to avoid being found. This was a bit unusual as most of the time the establishments in Third Street had advance warning of pending raids by the Police Dept. When the Police Dept was located on 1st Avenue in downtown Minot, it was in the same building as the fire dept. and City Hall. Some of the firemen would watch for unusual activity in the Police Dept and if it was a raid on Third Street, they would call and warn the Third Street businesses. Usually no one of importance was caught in the raids, however many prominent people in Minot would frequent many of the establishments. Because they establishments were usually warned when the raids were about to happen some speculate there was really no need for escape tunnels. 

Some of the Ladies of Third Street - 1930's

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

High Stake Card Games

It is well known that many of the High Rollers of the day would often hold high stake poker games. Many a car was lost and many won over a deck of cards. One of the Bootleggers always claimed the Cadillac’s or other cars he won from a well known auto dealer, always ran better than any he had purchased. He claimed that he won as many cars as he had lost. This same Bootlegger had at one time won a house on Third Street in a poker game. He also lost it in a poker game. Before he lost it in another poker game he hired someone to clean the house so he could turn around and sell it. As the cleaning person was clearing out a closet in the basement, she fell through the closet floor into a sub basement below the actual basement. One can only speculate what the lowest level was used for.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Illegal Booze Pipeline

Courthouse to Leland Hotel Booze LineThis is from a listener who used to have a water well drilling company in the area:  Apparently at one time there was an underground pipeline that ran from the Ward County Courthouse to the Leland Hotel in Downtown Minot. It seems that when the court would prosecute booze runners during the prohibition days, the judge would dump all the illegal alcohol down a drain. Some enterprising individuals reportedly ran a pipe from that drain, under downtown Minot to the Leland Hotel. The alcohol was collected, processed and served to the guests of the Leland. Apparently many contractors over the years would hit the illicit pipeline when doing underground work in the area. The pipe was always patched and repaired, until they realized that it was not a water line and was no longer in use.  At one time there were a number of contractors who were aware of this booze pipeline

Monday, November 10, 2014

Bogus Cashiers Checks

One of the most sensational incidents was when a group of runners came up with the idea of buying a large amount of Canadian liquor and paying for it with cashier’s checks drawn on banks that had closed. The runners made sure they stayed south of the Canadian border as the Canadians who sold them the liquor were literally out gunning for them. As one of the group, a runner from Minot said, “They gave us bad whiskey so we gave them bad checks.”

Friday, November 7, 2014

Wasting Whiskey

In a report to a federal grand jury in Fargo on October 6, 1920, Judge Charles Amidon  reported that there are automobiles loaded with liquor in convoys that have men armed with rifles and sawed off shotguns. He was encouraging the jurors to enforce the law.

On October 25, 1920 a story was printed about $40,000.00 worth of confiscated whiskey being destroyed in Minot. “The fumes of the strong liquor became so dense at one time that some of the officials became nauseated.”

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Price for a Whiskey Run

The “whiskey sixes” would run to Canada and back in the late spring through the fall, until the snow came.  A Whiskey Six was the name given to the big, high powered automobiles used by the booze runners in the days of Prohibition. The favored automobile was the Buick.  Minot was a local point for the Whiskey Runners in the era of 1919 to 1921.  The price paid to the runners for running from their start to Canada and back varied. The amount ranged from $100.00 to $500.00 per trip. A lot of money was made in a very short time if you wanted to take the risk. In the days of Prohibition even $100.00 was a lot of money. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Heavy Loads of Illegal Whiskey

The runners carried heavy loads in the “whiskey sixes”. Where the roads were good, the cars could travel along at speeds as fast a 50 to 60 miles per hour. The runners would travel in a line, or group with the lead car posing as a tourist to flush out the lawmen. The lead car would stall on the road, warning the runners that the law was ahead so they could make their get-away. Another trick used by the runners was to have a woman companion and at times a woman driving the car. The thought being that the lawmen would hesitate to shoot at a car occupied by a woman. It was generally considered by their appearance that these women companions were not home loving housewives.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Whiskey Runners

 The Whiskey runners made a lot of money and made it in a hurry. They were flashy dressers, sporting big diamonds, silk shirts, fancy ties and suits. They were also big tippers. One night in Minot a group of them lined up and peppered a bass drum in a Minot dancehall orchestra with silver dollars. The group was trying to break the head of the drum. They eventually ruined the drum but the orchestra was not upset as they got to keep all the silver dollars.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Booze Running Cars - Whiskey Six

A Whiskey Six was the name given to the big, high powered automobiles used by the booze runners in the days of Prohibition. The favored automobile was the Buick.  Minot was a local point for the Whiskey Runners in the era of 1919 to 1921. The whiskey running was at its peak during this time. Minot was the last major stop before Canada. The whiskey runners at times would travel in packs with a pilot car ahead to warn the if any lawmen were waiting up ahead. On some days, a whole city block would be lined with “whiskey sixes” waiting for dusk to make their run for the booze. They seldom returned to Minot after getting the load as the main destination was points like St Paul, Minneapolis, Sioux City and Omaha.