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Minnesota 13: Stearns County's Wet Wild…
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Minnesota 13: Stearns County's Wet Wild Prohibition Days

by Elaine Davis

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An interesting account of the prominence of moonshine manufacturing in Stearns County, Minnesota during the 1920s, "Minnesota 13" (which refers to the U of M developed hybrid corn used to brew the high quality whiskey for which the county became famous across the nation during Prohibition) provides much information about the place and time. Elaine Davis tells the story of the struggling German immigrant farmers of Stearns County (a bastion of German immigrants with a strong brewing tradition) who took advantage of Prohibition to provide safe, high quality alcohol, going against the law in the process and, on occasion, facing the consequences. Davis uses copious research and a lot of great maps and diagrams to document themes such as the role of the Catholic Church, connections to gangsters and organized crime in the Twin Cities and Chicago to traffic the booze (including Al Capone), attempts by Federal Agents to control the lawbreaking central Minnesota county, and even a recipe for Minnesota 13. The research is organized in a bit of a haphazard fashion, however, and can sometimes be a bit repetitive, reading like a a collection of separate essays on the theme of Prohibition and moonshine in Stearns County rather than a cohesive account. Still, Davis' research paints a compelling picture of the effects of Prohibition on a local level in rural Minnesota and is a good place to look for resources on daily life in the 1920s. ( )
1 vote Spoonbridge | Dec 6, 2012 |
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