Kalispell Ordinances: Alcohol part 2
I recently found an online directory of Kalispell City ordinances and thought it’d be intriguing to see what some of the ordinances of the past were. If I can find enough interesting material, I hope to share one from each year up until now. The last post covered the 1920 Kalispell ordinances that eliminated many fun activities and/or put limits on them. The next several years had no interesting ordinances, so before I jump ahead in time, I thought I’d provide a little more insight into the prohibition era in Kalispell.
As a reminder, Montana ratified the prohibition Amendment in 1918. Ordinance #350 specifically banned the sale, exchange, gifting of any alcoholic beverage. Penalties included a fine of up to $300 or imprisonment of up to 90 days or both. The 1920 ordinances then limited hours dance halls and pool halls could be opened, barred anyone under 18 from those places, and licensed any establishments that provided fun activities. I thought I’d add a little more insight into what was going on at the time.
It was suggested by some readers of my last post that perhaps there was a strong religious community that was behind all the no-fun rules. Maybe they wanted to tamp down on “sin” and loose morals and therefore were outlawing it. So I looked at newspaper articles in the 1920s to see if I could find any information regarding religion in the area. I couldn’t find any articles about the subject, but just based on wedding announcements and the like, found the following Kalispell churches or types of churches were mentioned:
- Scandinavian Methodist Episcopal Church
- Christ Church
- Baptist Church
- Presbyterian Church
- Norwegian Lutheran Church
- First Christian Church
- Episcopal Church
- St. Matthews Catholic Church
- Canvas Church
While I don’t have any conclusive evidence, there were only about 5100 people living in the area in the 1920s. That sounds like a lot of churches for that many people so religious beliefs may have been what drove the rules about dancing, pool halls and the like.
While I was looking for church information, I also found a few fun newspaper articles about the prohibition.
The first was from January 6, 2019 right after the prohibition rules took place. Interesting, in light of the previous few paragraphs, is the title of the article and the use of the word “moral” which does seem to suggest there may have been church-related reasons for local rules. Apparently three people didn’t do well on the first day of prohibition.
The second article was from 1920, the following year. From reading the article on the left, it sounds as though anyone who was actually arrested for using liquor, and sent to court, were found guilty. It would be interesting to see who was on the juries that found them all guilty. Also of interest were the two year sentences given when the ordinances only suggested a 90-day penalty. Two years sounds a bit harsh, doesn’t it?
And the final article was interesting because of the bootlegging women. Apparently both Mrs. Maginnis and Mrs. Jones were involved in making moonshine. And both incurred jail time and fines. This happened in 1930, which was after Montana repealed the prohibition. What’s interesting is the second line of the title – which indicates they were arrested because they violated “federal” law, not state law. I bet the Montanans were happy in 1933 when the rest of the country caught up to the Prohibition law’s ineffectiveness.
If you have any real estate related needs, feel free to give me a call on 406-270-3667 or email me at email@example.com and I would be happy to find the right person to assist you!
Thank you for reading “Kalispell Ordinances: Alcohol Part 2”