A highlight from You're Wrong About Prohibition



A while back when such things were possible. I took about from miami into the shallow. Greenish water of biscayne bay. Even from the shore. I could see what looked maybe like boats or oil rigs or something out there and then as we got closer. I realized there are little houses. Built on stilts just kind of scattered out there in the bay. It was early. Nineteen thirty s. miami was still a young city and a surprising community was starting to spring up in the most unlikely of places. The middle of this game bay. It's called still local. Pbs station made a documentary about still spill. Its little stilt houses. There are only seven left today but my tour guide. Local historian called paul. George said there used to be nearly thirty. The folks that pbs spoke to him to a really begins with some kind of an almost mythological character. Crawfish charlie aka crawfish eddie Who was selling Sh- bad out here of fishermen in the flats of this game bay not even a mile off of cuba's gain. The water is really shallow out there and build with sandbanks crawfish jar leapt slash. Eddie set up his shack in nineteen twenty two selling bait and chowder to fishermen but he was quickly joined by others because chowder and beta fish were kind of a cover for the real business which was drinking and gambling. Still phil became the club. Capital of biscayne bay around the old. The old saw about guys will be guys. They came out here. They drank too much. It's beyond anybody's gonna touch reach you out here. Still still sounds like a pretty bizarre place to me. It was a tiny hamlet. A couple dozen pastel colored houses on stilts in the water visible from the shoreline. Just kind of sitting out there on the sandbanks and people went there to party. Yeah nowadays it's kind of a curiosity but back then still spill was the place to be because these offshore houses on stilts thrived during prohibition and still is just one of the very weird things left from this very weird time in american history. You're listening to gastropod the podcast. That looks at food and drink. And even laws against drinking through the lens of science and history. I'm cynthia graber. And i m nicholas twilly and as a brit. I had always thought that prohibition was just a bizarre puritan thing that americans experimented with as part of this country's puritan past just one of those things about america. I will never understand. But actually prohibition or the temperance movements that led up to it. This whole thing was an international phenomenon. Tolstoy gandhi shin fain in ireland native american chiefs. Black nationalist activists in botswana. They all protested the sale of alcohol and fought in favor of limiting it as we learned this episode. We were totally wrong about. What led to prohibitions. And we're not alone. Many historians over the decades have been to and yet once prohibition at passed in the us an equally large and committed group grew up that was dedicated to subverting it and ensuring the supply of booze didn't dry up still spill is just one of the many places that were created to try and get around the eighteen th amendment and just one of the many ways booze blowed into the southern. Us from its island. Neighbor cuba the conventional wisdom. Is prohibition failed because no one wanted to stop drinking but it turns out. That's not the whole story either. This is a story told in two parts. Why prohibition isn't what you thought it was and then the stories of the smugglers and corrupt judges and all the drinkers who got around it and why it really came to its eventual and this

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