This Week in Rockland: Newspaper Excerpts: Flashback Friday: Week of November 1

2019-11-01 FBF Image


Became Alc[o]holic Desert Under Terms of Volstead Act--Many
Saloonkeepers Will Not Sell One-Half Per Cent Beverage
To Be Substituted For Beer

excerpted from the Nyack Evening Journal, October 27-November 2, 1919

​When the nation went dry Rockland County became an alcoholic desert under the terms of the Volstead act. Complete prohibition is now, under the law, a reality. For the first time since the early Dutch settlers reached here carrying a few bottles of 'fire water' to trade with the Indians the trafficking in any brand of brew of intoxicating beverages is forbidden.

Many saloonkeepers locked their doors. They have refused to handle the one-half per cent beverage which is to be substituted for beer, and which cannot be called beer under the new enforcement act. Others will sell the soft drinks. None has given up his license. All are prepared to sit it out in the hope that something may happen. A few said they would continue selling 2.75 per cent beer until closed by federal agents.

Brewers and liquor dealers still are confident that there is to be an interim between wartime prohibition and the operation of the constitutional amendment on January 16.

They pin their faith to their hope that one of these things will happen:

The normal declaration of peace will nullify war-prohibition and the Volstead act and permit the open and free sale of liquor for a few weeks at least. The dealers are willing to take a chance, believing they can make big money if they can open full blast for two weeks during the holiday period
The Volstead act and the war-time prohibition may be reversed by the courts and a few weeks open trade permitted.


We will explore the Prohibition issue at this year’s History Luncheon on November 13. Tickets are available. Please join us! For information and to purchase tickets, go to

This Week in Rockland (#FBF Flashback Friday) is prepared by Clare Sheridan on behalf of the Historical Society of Rockland County. To learn about the HSRC’s mission, upcoming events or programs, visit or call (845) 634-9629.


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