Newsletter Stories

Posted on: November 9, 2017

#Throwback Thursday

Pop Shaw’s Garage

As reported earlier, the original area of illicit activity was on 1st Street SW (Reishus Avenue), south of Central Avenue. This area also the future home of Harry’s Tire Service, known back then as Pop Shaw’s Garage. The garage was on the main floor and the basement, There was a bowling alley on the second floor. The third floor was a gambling den and after hours night club. The garage was next to what is now Bremer Bank, and had an elevator. The bootlegger cars would enter the garage and the owner would ride the elevator down to the basement with the car full of booze. Rumor had it that he would booby trap the car in case someone tried to steal the liquor, lock it up and walk back up via the stairway. No one knew for sure as nobody was about to risk tripping the booby trap. By the 1950s the top floor was converted to an apartment where the family that managed the bowling alley lived

Booze Pipeline

This is from a listener who used to have a water well drilling company in the area:

Apparently at one time there was an underground pipeline that ran from the Ward County Courthouse to the Leland Hotel in downtown Minot. It seems that when the court would prosecute booze runners during the prohibition days, the judge would dump all the illegal alcohol down a drain. Some enterprising individuals reportedly ran a pipe from that drain, under downtown Minot to the Leland Hotel. The alcohol was collected, processed and served to the guests of the Leland. Apparently many contractors over the years would hit the illicit pipeline when doing underground work in the area. The pipe was always patched and repaired, until they realized that it was not a water line and was no longer in use.

At one time there were a number of contractors who were aware of this booze pipeline

Cards for Cadillacs

It is well-known that many of the high rollers of the day would often hold high-stakes poker games. Many a car was lost and many won over a deck of cards. One of the bootleggers always claimed the Cadillacs or other cars he won from a well-known auto dealer, always ran better than any he had purchased. He claimed that he won as many cars as he had lost. This same bootlegger had at one time won a house on Third Street in a poker game. He also lost it in a poker game. Before he lost it in another poker game he hired someone to clean the house so he could turn around and sell it. As the cleaning person was clearing out a closet in the basement, she fell through the closet floor into a sub-basement below the actual basement. One can only speculate what the lowest level was used for.

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