For an evening of music and fun, Pourman’s Tap House in Wilmington invites you to a Speakeasy Soiree featuring the musical group Crackin’ Foxy from 8pm-11pm on Saturday, June 15th at 8 Whiteface Memorial Highway. The theme focuses on the Prohibition Era in America in the 1920’s. Special drinks made popular during the era will be available and costumes are optional but encouraged. The Speakeasy is the final part of a day of events focusing on Wilmington’s history. It is free and open to the public. Funds raised in raffles will benefit the building construction fund of the Wilmington Historical Society.
In its early days, the Jay/Wilmington area had the reputation of providing good rye whiskey to the American troops as part of their daily ration during the Battle of Plattsburgh in the War of 1812. Just over 100 years later during Prohibition, with its location close to the Canadian border, Wilmington became a safe haven for rum runners & bootleggers transporting illicit spirits across the border. Currently Wilmington is home to the cooperage US Barrel which furnishes barrels for craft distillers.
One local Prohibition story was told in an interview with former Wilmington resident Maurice Fletcher (now deceased) that he remembered in detail from his childhood while living on his family’s farm on Haselton Road. The occurrence took place in the middle of winter and it goes like this: “From Black Brook to Haselton it [the road] was sort of a back road off of 9N. Because the road was lower back then, the ice would pile up in the middle of it. Since then the road has been built up like a dyke to keep the water and ice out of it, but back then it would flood and drop big deposits of ice right in the middle of the road.” Maury continued: “I remember one night a bootlegger came up in an old ’22 Buick and drove up on the ice. His wheels were spinning and he couldn’t go anywhere, so he came up and rapped on the door at about 2 o’clock in the morning. He said to my father, “Farmer, do you have horses?” Dad said, “Yeah, I got horses.” Bootlegger said, “I’m stuck!” So my Dad pulled him off the ice with the horses. He gave my Dad a quart of liquor and $20. Dad said that was the easiest money he ever made!”
The Speakeasy at Pourman’s Tap House is free and open to the public. For further information contact the Wilmington Historical Society, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.facebook.com/WilmingtonHistoricalSociety/ or www.wilmingtonhistoricalsociety.org