Excerpts from "the first rough draft of history" as reported in The Washington Post on this date in the 20th century.
Although Prohibition did not formally become national law until the 18th Amendment was passed in 1920, between 1880 and 1914 many states and communities adopted local-option laws which gave them the right to ban the sale and shipment of alcohol. Washington's first Sunday-only brush with prohibition is described in this excerpt from The Post of July 7, 1913:
Washington was actually "dry" yesterday, probably for the first time in its history. It was the first Sunday of the new Jones-Works excise law, and its strict provisions were enforced to the letter.
Not even a bona fide registered guest at a hotel could have a drink with his meal. The exclusive clubs could serve nothing. Their officers had been warned that the "locker system" would be construed as a violation of the law. They also were notified that liquors actually bought on Saturday could not be iced and served on Sunday.
In other words, drought, relieved only by the oases provided by soda fountains and by club and hotel buffets dispensing soft drinks, enveloped Washington during the day.
The law was observed generally, only a few minor infractions by enterprising persons who thought to surreptitiously quench the prevailing thirst being reported by the police. Every bar from the lowly dramshop to the exclusive hotel and club establishment, presented an aspect of padlocked inactivity.
Police records of the number of persons arrested for intoxication tend to indicate that the new law is not an assurance of sobriety on the Sabbath in Washington. Between the closing of the saloons at midnight Saturday and dawn Sunday the police picked up nine individuals who had apparently tried to absorb enough liquor to carry them, camel-like, over the arid day ahead of them. During the day three more were arrested.
In contrast to these figures, the police records show that no arrests for drunkenness were made the previous Sunday, and only one arrest the next preceding Sunday.
Several attempts to operate unlicensed bars, "blind pigs," were nipped in the bud by the police, and the offenders' dreams of profits through the illicit trade were supplanted by prospects of prosecution and punishment for violating the new law. ...
There was a noticeable increase in the business of soda fountains, many unaccustomed throats exploring the mysteries of ice cream soda and other innocuous drinks to relieve their thirst.
Steamboat companies reported a great increase in the number of Sunday excursionists to river points outside the District limits. Bars on the boats and at towns outside the range of the embargo afforded many an opportunity of escape from the prevailing dryness in the city.
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