December 5, 1933
Dansville “wet” for first time since 1917. As defined on Wikipedia.org, Prohibition is the legal act of prohibiting the manufacture, storage, transportation and sale of alcohol including alcoholic beverages. The term can also apply to the periods in the histories of the countries during which the prohibition of alcohol was enforced.
1917 marked ultimate victory for Dansville’s temperance advocates; in March elections, the sale of alcoholic beverages in the village was banned, 667-546, effective November 1. (A similar measure was passed in South Dansville.) Church bells rang the news of the victory over Demon Rum, which spelled bad news not only for those local concerns that sold liquor, but also for the local grape-growing industry, which was doomed to extinction. For the liquor-sellers in Wayland, however, this meant a business boom…at least until nationwide Prohibition kicked into effect in 1920.
As if to make up for the impending loss of beer and whiskey, brothers Steve and Chris Dromazos opened the Sugar Bowl on June 29, where ice cream sodas and milkshakes could be purchased.
Before 1920, 50% of Americans lived under Prohibition laws passed by various states; now everybody did, as the 18th Amendment went into effect the year before.
Further disillusionment came for those who had thought that Prohibition meant the end of alcoholic beverages in the U.S. If anything, alcoholism had gone up in recent years; and the rise in gangsterism, which thrived mainly on bootlegging, made the headlines with the “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre” between the rival gangs of “Bugs” Moran and Al Capone.
In 1933, after nearly 14 (about 17 in Dansville) disillusioning years, Prohibition in the U.S. came to end. Given how popular Prohibition was in Dansville back in 1917, the 785-326 local vote in favor of its repeal clearly showed how great the disillusionment was. New York State was, as a whole, heavily in favor of abandoning the “Great Experiment”; in some New York City area districts, the vote was unanimous. When, in December, Utah’s vote made the repeal official, Leo Curran lost no time in obtaining a license to open a liquor store on Main Street; and in Hammondsport, thousand of gallons of wine were on hand, which could now be used for something other than religious sacraments