After writing about the Home Lawn Hotel for Our Towne Bethlehem's October issue I have been thinking about what was Bethlehem like during the prohibition era.
I just finished the book Wicked Albany: Lawlessness & Liquor in the Prohibition Era by Frankie Bailey and Alice Green. Piled on my coffee table are Rum Across the Border The Prohibition Era in Northern New York, Prohibition Thirteen Years that Changed America and Retreat From Reform The Prohibition Movement in the United States 1890-1913 (thank you Bethlehem Public Library!).
I often wonder how national issues like this one come down to the local level.
This headline caught my eye in November 16, 1917 issue of the Albany Evening Journal
DRY LAW CHASES HOTEL MAN FROM FOUR PLACES
The Altamont Enterprise reported the same story with the more staid headline
HOTEL MAN MEETS MANY DISAPPOINTMENTS
Both report about G. Kilmer moving from a series of hotel leases as successive towns passed dry laws. He moved from New Baltimore to Ravena to West Coxsackie ending up at the Home Lawn Hotel in Slingerlands. The articles notes he "took possession of the Home Lawn Hotel last month and at the recent election this town was voted dry and therefore he will lose his license here after Oct. 1, 1918."
So, Bethlehem was voted dry in November 1917. Hmmmm,one of these days I am going to look through the minutes of the Town Board meetings from that era and see what turns up.
Here's a link to the Our Towne Bethlehem article:
And a terrible copy of the Altamont Enterprise article: