Monday, January 11, 2016

January 11, 1901 -- Ft. Sheridan Ends Liquor Sales

January 11, 1901 -- Colonel Mott Hooten (you HAVE to love the name), the commanding officer at Fort Sheridan, speaking of recent congressional action ordering all canteens on military bases closed, says: "The abolishment of the canteen will . . . open the way for the post trader again, I fear, and the repetition of an experience of the most unsatisfactory character." The profits of the post canteen, which served beer, had equipped a gymnasium, furnished a library, and provided billiard tables and athletic equipment for soldiers at the fort with the added benefit of keeping everyone using the canteen under the watchful eyes of military authorities. In the adjoining town of Highwood, eight saloonkeepers rejoiced at the news while the town's citizens waited nervously for what was to come. One resident, the wife of a retired officer, said, "Soldiers will drink, whether there is liquor sold at a garrison or not. If they can't get beer at the post they will walk miles to buy whisky if necessary."

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