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Bismarck Hooch Hideaway

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On this chilly week in Bismarck 1910, the offense of drinking alcohol was hot page news in The Fargo Forum. The police were on the lookout for the owner of an establishment selling booze. Those establishments were called blind pigs during those days when alcohol was illegal.

The sub headline from Bismarck stated that the result was more than Chief of Police McDonald and his patrolman Ely had expected during their search for a couple of barrels of beer. To their surprise they found a whole lot more. A raid on the emporium would require the use of a large wagon to cart the confiscated hooch to the Bismarck courthouse.

The police had followed the beer operators discretely to a barn where they observed two barrels of beer being loaded into the building. There a secret door was found that led to the treasure trove of illegal liquor.

The officers collected about 200 half pints of whiskey, close to twenty-five quarts, and about a dozen bottles of gin. As of that date, it was the largest liquor seizure in Bismarck’s history.

It was alluded at the time that the liquor was property of one man who was then under $1,000 bail on the charge of running a blind pig.

Dakota Datebook by Steve Stark

Source: The Fargo Forum, Jan 10, 1910

Dakota Datebook is made in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, and funded by Humanities North Dakota, a nonprofit, independent state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the program do not necessarily reflect those of Humanities North Dakota or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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