O'Fallon Progress

March 1927: G-men descend on O’Fallon to conduct liquor raids

Brian Keller is the O’Fallon Historical Society president.
Brian Keller is the O’Fallon Historical Society president. rkirsch@bnd.com

It was a bit after 8 p.m. on a Saturday night in early March 1927 when a convoy of federal Prohibition officers descended on O’Fallon to conduct a series of simultaneous raids to root out liquor made illegal by the short-lived 18th Amendment.

Arriving in five cars and a truck, the agents fanned out to visit various “soft drink parlors.” They came up empty handed at the Central Hotel, Opera House and Mrs. Nick Ambry’s place. But all was not dry at Guy Harris’ pool room, Effie Duncan’s boarding house and the soft drink parlors of Fred Mensing and Henry Scheibel. The offenders were arrested and taken to East St. Louis. The biggest haul was at the pool room where “several hundred bottles of home-brewed beer, a gallon bottle and several smaller bottles of liquor were seized.” Samples of the brew were taken for evidence and the rest destroyed.

75 years ago Feb. 19, 1942

Rationing of sugar and other foodstuffs had no effect on the supply of bananas for everyone who happened to be driving along U.S. Highway 50 two miles east of O’Fallon on Monday afternoon, for a while at least. It all happened when a large truck of the Bassin Produce Co. of East St. Louis, loaded with fruit and vegetables, ran off the concrete slab, across a ditch and landed in a field near the Henry Bechtlofft residence (present day Grille at the Mansion). Most of the cargo was jolted from the truck as it struck the ditch while the remainder was strewn out as the vehicle ran into the soft field and overturned. Bananas were the piece de resistance among those who were eagerly helping themselves before salvage operations could get underway.

50 years ago Feb. 16, 1967

Girl Scouts were knocking on doors from Feb. 17 through 25 to conduct their traditional annual cookie sale when they will be taking orders. The cookies cost 45 cents a box.