The Bootleggers Come to Larchmont: Free Presentation & Reception on Sunday, Oct 26

Presentation and Discussion: at Larchmont Village Center, Sunday, October 26,  3:30 to 5:00 PM

Post-Program Reception:  with refreshments at Post Wine and Spirits, 2112 Boston Post Road, celebrating 81 years since its opening at the end of Prohibition in 1933.

Prohibition in Larchmont was not universally supported, as will be discussed at the Larchmont Historical Society’s October 26th program by Ned Benton, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

“We are all within speaking distance of flagrant violations of law and order,” sermonized Reverend Robert M. Russell of the Larchmont Avenue Church, as noted in the Larchmonter Times on September 27, 1923. “

Reverend Robert M. Russell expressed moral outrage that, after 3 years of enforcement of prohibition, liquor was still easily available and widely consumed in Larchmont:

“It is reported you can buy liquor in Larchmont, on both sides of the railroad. You know where as well as I do, because citizens buy it and the trade continues to exist. Disrespect for law, let alone ordinary decency of life, will reap the whirlwind of moral collapse in the generation to come.”

When the Bootlegger Special Comes to Town by L.F. Van Zelm

When the Bootlegger Special Comes to Town by L. F. Van Zelm Published in the Larchmonter-Times, 1922

Professor Benton will describe various ways the liquor laws were either enforced or ignored during the Prohibition years from 1920 to 1933. Topics will include:

• Where and how could Larchmonters obtain beer, wine, hard liquor and moonshine?

• Where did raids and arrests take place? Who was arrested?

• Were Larchmonters involved in bootlegging?

• What evidence is available about Larchmonters’ opinions of prohibition?

Featured in the presentation will be the 1922 cartoon by Louis Franklin Van Zelm “The Bootleggers Come to Larchmont.” Van Zelm shows a band of bootleggers arriving via the Boston Post Road, met by the Larchmont Police out to arrest them and viewed by bystanders toasting their arrival.

 Reception at Post Wine and Spirits

After the program, those attending are invited to a reception at Post Wine and Spirits, a block from the Village Center at the intersection of the Boston Post Road and Larchmont Avenue. This store opened when prohibition ended and wine and spirits could once again be sold legally. Although ownership has passed a few times, the store has been continuously operated since 1933.

The presentation and reception are free and open to all; no RSVP is required.