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Western Minn. flouted Prohibition

GRANITE FALLS -- America's great social experiment with Prohibition made criminals of many otherwise law-abiding citizens. That was just as true in western Minnesota, home of Congressman Andrew Volstead, the author of Prohibition, as it was elsew...

Silver Dollar in Ghent
The Silver Dollar in Ghent had the distinction of being the first licensed bar to serve alcohol in Minnesota with the repeal of Prohibition. (Submitted photo)
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GRANITE FALLS -- America's great social experiment with Prohibition made criminals of many otherwise law-abiding citizens.

That was just as true in western Minnesota, home of Congressman Andrew Volstead, the author of Prohibition, as it was elsewhere in the county.

Along with taking a look at Volstead's legacy, Pioneer Public Televison's documentary "Volstead Fever'' also offers a look at how the law was flouted and its end celebrated in western Minnesota.

Dustin Brau, co-owner of the Brau Brewery in Lucan, tells how many farmers simply brewed their beer at home during Prohibiton.

Jon Berends, owner of Bootlegger's Supper Club in Granite Falls, hosted the premiere and had plenty to tell of Prohibition's legacy in the documentary. Part of his supper club was originally a "speakeasy'' and located upstream in Wegdahl, notorious back in the 1920s as "Skunk Hollow.''

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Merlin Bucholz, a farmer and former mayor of Granite Falls, talked about the still his father kept on the farm to make alcohol.

The documentary also looks at how Schell's Brewery in New Ulm managed to survive the Prohibition era, and how the Silver Dollar in Ghent had the distinction of being the first licensed bar to serve alcohol in Minnesota with the repeal of Prohibition.

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