icon caret-left icon caret-right instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads question-circle facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle


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 
Be the first to comment

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 
Be the first to comment

Book Eight:Bootlegging

Bringing in the hooch
Book Eight: The Art of Bootlegging
Detroit was the bootleggers’ dream. Although it was not available for consumption in Canada, liquor was readily available for export, and Windsor was a prime distiller location. Libations of all kinds could be purchased at the dock so long as the buyer agreed not to take it to the U.S.A.
A man could buy any quantity of any kind and load it in his small boat signing a document that he was taking it to, say, Cuba. The waterway was large and difficult to patrol, particularly at night, especially when the gangsters had the fastest boats.(continued next week) Read More 
Be the first to comment


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 
Be the first to comment