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The Great Depression

Soup Line
Book Eight: The great depression: In the early days of prohibition, industry and finance did well, much of it fueled by the advent of the auto industry as well as the booming stock market. In Detroit, the automobile industry flourished as Americans flush with cash flocked to purchase this new and wonderful invention. With this booming market came prosperity for Detroit. Unfortunately the stock market crashed abruptly in 1929 and over the next few years, those wonderful jobs disappeared and the Detroit auto workers, who had once been flush with cash and over spending, were suddenly poor. Read More 
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Repeal of Prohibition

Happy Days are here again
Book Eight: Repeal: As is generally the case with unpopular laws, prohibition was eventually overturned, and in 1933, “happy days were here again,” or at least it seemed. Due to poor records, it is difficult to quantify the effects of prohibition. How consumption and addiction were affected remains a debate today. Certainly crime and poisoning from bad alcohol diminished. Its effect is further blurred by the social phenomenon that began before prohibition left, and I will deal with this next. However, I will be gone doing research on new works next week so we will have to wait a week for: THE GREAT DEPRESSION. Read More 
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The Chase

Bad night for the Purple Gang
Book Eight: The Getaway-Part Two: Authorities were generally on the alert for the late night transport of bootleg liquor. Once a suspected smuggler was sighted it generally resulted in a chase. How serious the chase was depended on the nature of the smuggler as well as the nature of the legal entity. If the smuggler was a local citizen who was once a legitimate bar owner, and the authorities were local, the chase would be relatively sedate. If apprehended, it would usually end in confiscation of the goods or some of the goods (wink-wink). If the smuggler was rougher element such as the Purple Gang and the authorities were federal, it would result in a high speed chase, sometimes with unfortunate consequences.(continued next week) Read More 
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The Tunnel

Tunnel from the lake
Book Eight: The drop-off. When bootleg liquor reached the American side, it had to be transferred to land without apprehension. A common method was scheme modified from the days of the old Underground Railroad: a tunnel from the lake or river to the basement of the house. Better suited for the small-time smuggler, sometimes only supplying their own previously legal tavern or restaurant. The tunnel originated near the water’s edge, preferably in an inconspicuous location, often a lakefront home. Once the load was safely in the tunnel the boat could disappear. Generally the entrance was through a boat house or sometimes a trap door in the yard. Many of these exist even today, either in ruins or refurbished as part of the basement party room, much like that of Jim Trombley’s present day home in THE CHIEF.(continued next week) Read More 
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To Get to the other Side

Get there fast!
Book Eight: Crossing the River. Once the Canadian Hooch reached the river, the river had to be crossed, and in a manner avoiding the authorities. Obviously, after dark worked best and the later the better. Boats were by far the most popular modes of libation transportation. It was important to vary the point of departure and arrival. Sometimes a fast boat was the most effective means and sometimes trickery such as posing as a fishing boat. These shenanigans were used by both the law and the crooks as seen in the scene from Chapter 20 in Book Eight(continued next week) Read More 
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Prohibition

Let the good times roll
Book Eight: Prohibition. No story of Detroit in the first half of the 20th century would be complete without dealing with this phenomenon. Politically, Michigan was among the first, as it instituted the ban on alcohol ahead of the rest of the nation. For a while, Detroiters had only to drive to Ohio to buy booze. The prohibitionists had a much more difficult time in Detroit as the waterway that aided Cadillac, the voyageurs and the exploration of the interior, greatly aided the bootlegger. (continued next week) Read More 
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Sugar and Booze

Book Eight: Sugar. Well before the start of World War One, people like Simon Shands and Harry Auerbach foresaw prohibition. They also realized the importance of sugar in the simple production of cheap booze. Early on they became involved in what was known as the Oakland Sugar House. Although it may have begun as a legitimate enterprise, the involvement of these men and others soon made it otherwise. Its fame became such that the infamous Purple Gang was also known as the Sugar House Gang. I could not find an image of the Sugar House but here is a shot of some investors. Read More 
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WWI

In the Trench
Book Eight: WWI. There can be no discussion of this era without including this low point in western civilization. A conflict that began over minor issues—with horses, rifles, and trenches ending with airplanes, modern weapons and a struggle that just would not end. The United States avoided most of this debacle by sitting on the sidelines until the bitter end. Bud Forton is a typical farm boy drafted into a conflict which he will never understand. Leaving the farm for Paris, he encounters things he would never find at home, sophisticated women and a level of violence and evil he would never have experienced on the farm. Read More 
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Automobiles

Edsel Ford Estate, today a museum
Book Eight: Automobiles. It would be inconceivable to write history of Detroit without mentioning this icon. From Ransom Olds in 1898 to post WWII, it permeates the city. Henry Ford’s interaction with the Allards is relatively accurate and he did purchase the lakefront of Moses Allard’s family farm where the Edsel Ford Estate stands today on the banks of Lake St. Clair and the Milk River. Today it is a museum well worth a visit. Read More 
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Harsens Island

Brown's Tavern at Sunset
I hope you enjoy 1634, Return to the New World, but I need to get back to The Allards Book Eight: The Chief
Harsens Island: This jewel of a swamp has found its way into The Allard Series since Book Four: The Voyageur. Located where the St. Clair River enters Lake St. Clair, it is still reachable only by water. First owned by Dutch immigrant, Jacob Harsen in 1783, it continues to be a haven for fishing, boating, and duck hunting, and the Allard family along with many other Detroit residents have enjoyed it even before Jacob. Following WWII my mother’s cousin, Earl Brown started Brown’s Tavern which endures today and is worth a visit. Another famous Island eatery was The Blue Goose which was moved from the island to St. Clair Shoes by towing it on the ice. The Blue Goose and many of its namesakes have found their way into the Allard Series and it is also recommended by the author. Read More 
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