News - from the past & the present

TBT: Throwback Thursday – On May 5, 1937 – when legal liquor sales returned in Alabama after 22 years, fire trucks were summoned

On this date in 1937, anyone wanting to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with liquor in Alabama had the opportunity in 1937 because legal liquor sales returned after 22 years of prohibition. A crowd of 75 to 100 people turned out for purchases.

Dumping liquor New York (Library of Congress)

New York City Deputy Police Commissioner John A. Leach, right, watching agents pour liquor into sewer following a raid during the height of prohibition (Library of Congress)

TBT: News From The Tuscaloosa News, May 5, 1937


Legal liquor sales began today in Alabama state-owned beverage stores.

A Montgomery store, the first to be opened in 24 “wet” counties, made its first sale at 12 o’clock noon, to Montgomery Police Commissioner W. P. Screws.

First legal sale

It was the first legal sale of alcoholic beverages in Alabama in 22 years.

O. Baldwin chairman of the State Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, intimated similar stores, authorized in wet counties in a March 10 state-wide local option election, would be opened in Birmingham and Mobile “tomorrow, and certainly as soon as possible.”

Stores in other wet counties will be opened as fast as possible, the board chairman said, but gave no indication when sales would begin outside the state’s three most populous counties.

A “rushing business” was experienced by the Montgomery liquor store after Screws made the initial purchase and doors were thrown open “to the general public.”

A crowd of 75 to 100 stood about the front door and the “crush of business” was so pronounced the store was forced to admit only a few customers at a time.

Jack Smith, a distillery representative, made the second purchase.


Fire Alarm Sounds

A comic touch was added to the store opening as fire trucks, sirens blaring and bells clanging, dashed to the liquor store a few minutes before noon. Persons crowding the store and sidewalk looked about them with apprehension as firemen jumped from the trucks ready for action.

Investigation revealed an automatic sprinkler and alarm system had been tripped accidentally in the building where the store is located.

A few minutes later, Screws calmly made his purchase, with photographers snapping his picture as “the first customer.”

Alexander, a clerk in the store, filled the police commissioner’s order, and Cashier Ed Jenkins received the money. Screws, admiring his $4.80 quart purchase, moved aside to talk with Board Chairman Baldwin and Administrator John D. McNeel.

The orders are made out by customers from a prepared list. The blank shows the number of bottles desired, brand, price, and total amount. This is presented to the cashier with the cash, and he in turn gives it to a clerk who fills the order.

RIBBON OF LOVE: 2nd edition – A Novel of Colonial America  – the true story of religion in America –

Inspired by true historical events, Mary and Henry Pattenden flee to America to escape persecution –  It is almost impossible to put the book down until completion. – Dr. Don P. Brandon, Retired Professor, Anderson University 

Ribbon of Love: A Novel of Colonial America (Tapestry of Love) (Volume 1)

By (author): Donna R Causey
List Price: $12.97 USD
New From: $12.73 USD In Stock

About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *