Tuesday History: Impressions of Asheville from 1911, Part IV

MOONSHINE: This photo is believed to have been taken sometime between 1915-1930. North Carolina outlawed alcohol in 1908. Nationwide Prohibition would go into effect 12 years later, until it was repealed in 1933. Photo courtesy of North Carolina Collection, Pack Memorial Public Library, Asheville, North Carolina

This is our final section of W.A. Shafor’s 1911 investigation into Asheville. Click the following links if you’ve missed parts 1, 2 and/or 3. Next week we’ll begin exploring some of Thomas Wolfe’s correspondence about Asheville. Thanks as always to Pack Memorial Library’s Special Collections, North Carolina Room for its support and assistance. 

By W.A. Shafor (excerpted from a letter to his friends in his hometown of Hamilton, Ohio)

People are Hospitable

We visited Asheville police court one morning and of 14 cases on the docket, 12 were plain drunks and were given $3.00 and costs, one $5.00 and costs, and one thirty days for disturbing a religious meeting.

We were told that most of these men would pay their fines, and those who could not [would] work them out on streets or roads at 50 cents a day. As is the case everywhere, there is a difference of opinion in regard to the liquor question.

Some tell us there is more drinking and crime since the state went dry and that a steady stream of money is going out of the state for liquor that may as well be made here, and the money kept at home.

Others say there is less drinking and crime and that there is less temptation, especially for boys, since the open bar was abolished.

But there seems to be a general opinion that the saloon men started the prohibition ball rolling and did more to injure their cause by dabbling too much in politics than in any other way.

The people here are very hospitable and obliging and certainly do all they can to make visitors feel at home and welcome.


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About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. His writing has appeared in Gulf Coast, the Miracle Monocle, Juked and elsewhere. His debut novel, The Wind Under the Door, is now available.

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One thought on “Tuesday History: Impressions of Asheville from 1911, Part IV

  1. Carol

    Seems our present day breweries come from our past! I have enjoyed these 3 sessions and look forward to the Thomas Wolfe correspondence. Thanks to Thomas Calder for shining new light on the history of Asheville!!!

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