Chances are the guests at the next party you attend won’t know the huge role Westerville, Ohio played in the passage of the 18th Amendment which made Prohibition the law of the land. Here are few facts that you can have in your back pocket to make you sound smart!
- The Anti-Saloon League moved it headquarters and printing company to Westerville in 1909. The Anti-Saloon League Museum is now part of the Westerville Public Library’s History Center and Museum and is open daily for visitors.
- You can experience what life was like when it was illegal to buy or sell alcohol in the U.S. (1920-1933) with an interactive exhibit called Prohibition! Expectation vs. Reality at the Westerville History Center and Museum.
- The 18th Amendment, prohibiting the manufacture transportation and sale of intoxicating liquors became law nationwide in January 1920, making this the 100th Anniversary.
- The Anti-Saloon League moved to Westerville because its citizens already supported Temperance. A series of incidences known as the “Westerville Whiskey Wars” saw entrepreneur Henry Corbin’s saloons dynamited by unknown persons in the late 1870’s.
- The Temperance Row Historic District is a group of 20 homes built between 1910 and 1935 by the leaders of the Anti-Saloon league along Park and Grove streets. These homes are on the National Register of Historic Places not just because of their local and national historical significance, but because of their craftsman-style architecture.
- The sculpture, “The American Issue” in the City Hall courtyard, 21 S. State St., commemorates the complicated issue of Prohibition and the role Westerville played in the struggle. Sculptor Matthew Gray Palmer researched the history to create the piece that is as relevant today as it would have been 100 years ago.
- In 2011, documentary film maker Ken Burns told Westerville’s story as part of his three-part, five-and-a-half-hour public television documentary “Prohibition”. He and producer Lynn Novic visited Westerville as part of the research process.
- You can own the entire story of how Westerville changed the U.S. Constitution! Westerville: The War Machine of Prohibition is a new book commissioned by Uptown Westerville, Inc. and was written and curated by local journalist Joe Meyer. It traces Westerville’s dry roots through its role in the Prohibition movement to today’s reinvigorated Uptown shopping and dining district. You can order your copy at www.uptownwestervilleinc.com.
For more information about Westerville’s history as “The Dry Capital of the World”, visit www.westervillelibrary.org/exhibitions