Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Carrie Nation in Cincinnati

Vine Street was a street of bars.
In 1890, from the Ohio River to McMicken, a 2-mile stretch, there were 136 bars on Vine Street alone. Between 12th & 13th Streets it is said there were 23 bars, saloons, halls, and cafes.
In 1840 Cincinnati had eight breweries for a population of 46,000. 
In 1860 there were 36 breweries for 200,000 people. 
In 1862 there were 38 breweries. 
By 1870 production rose to 656,000 barrels. 
In another ten years it soared to 1,115,000 barrels. 35,700,000 gallons of beer of which a little less than 1/2 was exported.
Naturally, the rest was consumed locally.
In 1879 a reporter for the New York Times wrote an article about the incredible drinking habits of Cincinnatians. "At the Kauffmann brewery the employees consume 18 kegs of beer daily, averaging 35 glasses apiece. The employees at Moerlein's brewery averaged 25 glasses per day. The J. G. Sohn and Co. brewery allowed their employees 5 kegs of beer daily."
"This was a common practice in those days and I don't understand how they actually accomplished their jobs without killing themselves or their fellow workers."
In 1887 there were an amazing 1,837 saloons for a population of 225,000. In 1890 it dropped to only 1,810 for a population of 297,000.
This meant since only adult males used saloons there was, in 1890, 
ONE SALOON FOR EVERY 37 MEN.
In 1890 there were 34 saloons on Court St., 41 on Liberty St., 55 on both Walnut andMain Street. Central Ave. had 100 saloons, but the all-time high was Vine St. with 136. Between 12th & 13th Streets there were 23 saloons. On Fifth St. between Main & Sycamore, for one block, 20 saloons flourished.
A corner location was preferred because it gave the bar the most exposure to potential customers, and if it were illegally selling beer on Sunday, it was easier to spot the police.
The person that is most well known for her hatred of saloons was Carrie Nation.
She arrived in Cincinnati in 1901 with her famous hatchet to wage battle with demon alcohol. Most tavern owners knowing Carrie's propensity for taking her ax to glass windows, ordered new glass ahead of her visit.
Carrie was asked later why she had not broken any windows was heard to say: "My goodness, child, if I had undertaken to break all the windows of all the saloons on your Vine Street I would have dropped from exhaustion before I had gone a block".
Before leaving the Atlantic Garden, a woman lush laid her head on Carrie's shoulder and cried. She then left promising the temperance leader she would mend her ways and lead a better life. Ten minutes later Carrie noticed that her earrings were missing.

Carrie forgave the woman for lifting them.

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