The rarely discussed history of Prohibition in Harbor Springs will be brought to light with an online lecture hosted by the Harbor Springs Area Historical Society. Curator Beth Wemigwase will present an original Harbor History Talk based on the research she conducted to create the fascinating new exhibit, “Dry Harbor: Prohibition, Gambling and Gangsters in Harbor Springs.”
Wemigwase’s talk begins with early, national temperance movements which led to the passage of the 18th Amendment in 1920 (which outlawed the production, importation, transportation and sale of alcoholic beverages), including sweeping changes brought on by World War I, the Spanish Flu epidemic and the women’s rights movement. The talk then moves to local history.
The Harbor Springs area experienced a healthy share of bootlegging, speakeasies and casinos for the 15 years Emmet County was dry (Michigan had passed a statewide prohibition law beginning in 1918), complete with elaborate delivery schemes, underground escape tunnels and even connections to Detroit’s notorious Purple Gang.
Beth WemigwaseWemigwase has been with the Historical Society for eight years, following her internship with the Mackinac State Historic Parks. Originally from Ohio, she received her Master’s in Historical Administration from Eastern Illinois University.
North Central Michigan College • 1515 Howard Street, Petoskey, MI 49770