21st Amendment Parade, Market Street
Friday was the 75th anniversary of the 21st Amendment to the Constitution which repealed the nationwide prohibition of alcohol. To honor the date there was a parade down Market Street in San Francisco complete with a brass band and folks dressed in 1930s clothes.

San Francisco never made Prohibition enforcement a priority during the 1920s, the SFPD played a halfhearted game of cat-and-mouse with the bootleggers. China Beach and Moss Beach were well known spots for ships to unload alcohol under cover of dark for transport into the city. The popular Babylon Club, was also located right on the water in the Marina District. This allowed the owners to quickly dump their booze during raids by the Feds.

To the Italian community the whole notion of Prohibition was ludicrous and most families took great advantage of, and liberties with, the Volstead Act. That act allowed each family to brew up to 200 gallons of non-intoxicating liquor (under .5% alcohol) for home use as long as they didn't sell it. By the mid-1920s the police simply ignored all the Italian restaurant patrons drinking homemade wine out of coffee cups.

The most inventive scheme was hatched by the Hotel d'Oloron on Columbus which was constantly raided for running a speakeasy. When the judges shut down the hotel, its owners simply cut a new door down the alley and reopened under a different address. By the repeal of prohibition the hotel had a whole series of doors in a row.


[ MAP F-15 ]


Blogger dutchbaby said...

Proof positive that San Franciscans don't need much of an excuse to celebrate. Delightful photos!

1:39 PM  

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