Prohibition in Seattle

Courtesy Wilipedia Commons Attribution: by Sivasankar CC BY-SA-3.0

Courtesy Wilipedia Commons Attribution:
by Sivasankar CC BY-SA-3.0

Denmark’s Olaf Linck wrote a biography of my Seattle contractor father, Hans Pederson after a two-month 1929 visit with Pederson.

They ate lunch at the Arctic Club, a five-story building constructed by Pederson as a venue for local movers and shakers who had gone on the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898. Aware that Prohibition had been the law in Washington for some years, Linck observed several patrons ordering drinks at the extended bar across the lobby.

Seated next to Linck before the fireplace, Hunter, one of the members, explained. Before Prohibition he drank water, but now places a monthly order with his bootlegger for any type of prohibited spirits. “The prohibition law is an insult to all freedom-loving and healthy men,” Hunter said. “Why should the Government tell me what I am allowed to eat and drink in my own home?” Hunter slapped the arm of his chair. “The State has committed an assault against me. My house is my castle—in the United States we are not serfs to the lords.”

Linck concluded that Prohibition offered another risk-taking opportunity to the West’s intrepid pioneers.

The renovated Arctic Club reopened as a downtown Seattle hotel in 2009.

Prohibition didn’t work. How is legal marijuana doing if it’s in your state?

4 responses

  1. My grandma always says that things were better during Prohibition. However, she was a small child for most of it, and lived in a peaceful farming town in upstate New York. I suspect nostalgia at work.

    I live in MA. Medical marijuana is legal here, but not recreational.

    • Kris, I’m pondering why she thought it was better—more law abiding and safer? Or more fun partying because it was illegal. Probably the latter as a child in NY farm country where I lived too. In Maine and Vermont now, drugs are rampant in small towns although illegal. A Colorado friend with teenagers is worried.

      • Law abiding and safer. Recently, the small town in RI that I grew up in had a string of heroin-related deaths. People I went to high school with used to say, “Well, there’s nothing else to do here.” That wasn’t true then (I graduated in 2003), and it’s definitely not true now when everyone walks around with a computer in their pocket.

      • i’m probably your grandma’s age. They didn’t have TV when I grew up, but I was never bored with reading, radio, and games.we had more personal interaction.

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