The Eighteenth Constitutional Amendment, which went into effect in 1920 (and lasted until the Twenty-First Amendment in 1933), made it illegal to sell, produce, import, or transport alcohol in the United States. Some states, like Michigan, had prohibition laws even before National Prohibition; Michigan passed a prohibition law in 1917. That fact combined with its entrepreneurial culture — Detroit was then the fourth largest city in the country, with a thriving economy — gave rise to a vibrant if illegal market for bootlegged alcohol.
On this tour, you’ll hear about the extents to which bootleggers went to obtain alcohol, and the degree to which drinking continued. The tour will visit sites where bootleggers transported and stored liquor, as well as establishments — still open today — that operated as speakeasies in the 1920s.
Your hosts will be lifelong residents of Detroit who, though they don’t quite remember Prohibition itself (no, we don’t have 100-year-old tour guides!), will regale you with stories of Detroit’s history and their own personal associations with it.
Proceeds of the tour go to local block clubs, which support Detroit’s Eastside community.