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The Campbell County Rockpile Museum is hosting an event marking the repeal of Prohibition

Rockpile Museum Prohibition event
Rockpile Museum

The Campbell County Rockpile Museum is hosting an event that marks the passage of the 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which ended Prohibition. “Dry No More: The Repeal of Prohibition” will specifically focus on Prohibition in Campbell County and statewide during the years it was in effect.

“It was a loosely enforced prohibition on alcohol and I say loosely enforced because there's plenty of cases where people were arrested for trying to store or make liquor,” said Lucas Fralick, program coordinator for Wyoming Humanities and museum board member who will present. “In fact, there are several stories we'll talk about that will involve a few moonshining busts north of the county, so things like that will be in hot display. Basically, Wyoming was very much involved in the thick of the Prohibition scene just like any other place.”

The efforts to ban alcohol nationally began as part of reform movements in the 19th century that were supported by several major Protestant denominations, including Methodist, Congregationalist, Presbyterian, Church of Christ, Quaker and Baptist churches, among others. It was seen as a way to improve society and the problems that were caused or exacerbated by alcohol, such as alcoholism, domestic violence, and saloon-based political corruption.

The 18th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified in 1919 and went into effect in January 1920. However, alcohol continued to be part of the lives of many Americans during this period and continued to be produced and consumed illegally until the 21st Amendment was repealed on Dec. 5, 1933. After losing support during the early years of the Great Depression, the repeal allowed the states to determine their own laws on alcohol.

“December 5th, known officially as Repeal Day, that was when the 21st amendment was officially passed, and ratified, which repealed the 18th Amendment, which forbade the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol,” Fralick said. “So that's why the fifth is kind of a big deal.”

Alcoholic beverages of the era will also be served in addition to appetizers, though the event is open to all ages. It begins at 5:30 on Dec. 8 at the Rockpile Museum.

Hugh Cook is Wyoming Public Radio's Northeast Reporter, based in Gillette. A fourth-generation Northeast Wyoming native, Hugh joined Wyoming Public Media in October 2021 after studying and working abroad and in Washington, D.C. for the late Senator Mike Enzi.
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