MCHS Presents Prohibition Exhibit at Morrison County Fair

Kiewel's White Seal Beer bottle, Morrison County Historical Society collection, 1985.42.1.
Kiewel’s White Seal Beer bottle, Morrison County Historical Society collection, 1985.42.1.

Imagine a popular product enjoyed by many in the general population suddenly becoming illegal. What might you do to get your hands on this product? How might law enforcement react to those in possession or selling this illegal product?

The United States of America conducted just such a social experiment from 1920-1933, when it passed a constitutional amendment (the 18th amendment, if you’re keeping track) to ban the production, sale, transportation, and importation of alcoholic beverages. Interestingly enough, the amendment did not ban the possession or consumption of alcohol by private individuals, but local laws in some areas were much stricter and banned possession and consumption too. For 13 long years, residents of the country dealt with Prohibition, some enjoying the “dry” conditions, while others found creative ways to make and consume liquor in secret, always trying to stay one step ahead of the Feds. By 1933, the social experiment was finished after the ratification of the 21st amendment. (See Wikipedia for a general history of Prohibition:

Because all history, even national history, plays out at the local level, residents of Morrison County were affected by Prohibition. Morrison County had its share of hidden stills, bootlegging, and liquor raids. When Prohibition was enacted, the local Kiewel Brewing Company had to shift its product line, moving from beer to dairy products. Numerous county residents were arrested for drinking and liquor production.

The Morrison County Historical Society will be sharing stories regarding Prohibition in the county during the Morrison County Fair from August 11-14, 2016. The Prohibition exhibit will be in the Santa House at the fairgrounds in Little Falls, MN. Along with volunteers from the Historical Society, members of the Morrison County Genealogy Society will be on hand to capture Prohibition stories from those who visit the exhibit.

The exhibit will be open from 2 p.m. – 9 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. on Sunday during the fair dates.

Stop in to learn more about Prohibition or to share your stories.

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