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Glenwood Springs goes dry

Willa Soncarty

On Jan. 1, 1916, Colorado became a dry state. This was not a drought brought on by the weather, but a drought brought on by the will of the people. Prohibition was now in effect, making it illegal to buy, sell, manufacture or consume alcoholic beverages.The state’s prohibition measure had passed easily during the November 1914 election, and the state legislature wasted no time in ratifying the measure. Not only was alcohol perceived as a catalyst for society’s ills, but alcohol also wielded considerable political clout. Prohibition ended the local and statewide political influence exacted by brewers, saloon owners and wholesale liquor distributors.Glenwood Springs saloon owners prepared themselves for going out of business. By the end of 1915, inventories dwindled to the point that no excess was found anywhere in town. Meanwhile, saloon owners searched for another line of work. Bart Petrini established a soda fountain to augment his restaurant business. Frank Heberling opened a pool and billiard hall serving nonalcoholic beverages. Shorty Mangnall, who operated a pool hall, added the sale of candy and cigars.Under the “doctrine of preparedness,” consumers rushed to purchase the last of the inventories to “fortify themselves against the long dry spell.” It was said that there were more intoxicating beverages stored in the basements of Glenwood Springs homes than at any other time in the town’s history. Bootlegging became widespread in the 1920s. However, it was soon realized that alcohol revenues which had gone to the state now went to the moonshiners. Opposition to prohibition grew.The Twenty-first Amendment to the Constitution ended Federal Prohibition in 1933. Colorado quickly ratified the amendment. The drought was over.”Frontier Diary” is provided to the Post Independent by the Frontier Historical Society and Museum, 1001 Colorado Ave., Glenwood Springs. Winter hours are 1-4 p.m. Mondays, and Thursdays through Saturdays.”Frontier Diary” is provided to the Post Independent by the Frontier Historical Society and Museum, 1001 Colorado Ave., Glenwood Springs. Winter hours are 1-4 p.m. Mondays, and Thursdays through Saturdays.


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