KYW In Depth: 100 years after Prohibition, how dry Philadelphia got soaked

A new original podcast from KYW Newsradio

KYW In Depth
January 17, 2020 - 9:41 am

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Prohibition didn't keep the liquor from pouring in Philadelphia.

"Many mainstream Americans just disregarded this law," says Annie Anderson, a historian, author, and researcher at Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site. "There was widespread lawlessness, in particular in Philadelphia, and across the country."

In Philadelphia, that lawlessness took the form of more than 16,000 speakeasies across the city, bathtubs filled with gin, bootleggers and mobsters like Max "Boo Boo" Hoff and Mickey Duffy, and widespread corruption leading many public officials and law enforcement officers to look the other way when the alcohol flowed by.

It wasn't just in speakeasies, such as the Khyber Pass Pub, where 18th Amendment scofflaws could get a drink. Gangster penitentiary inmates like Al Capone enjoyed special privileges that included plenty of booze, some of it made in the prison, and controlled by four powerful prisoners nicknamed "The Four Horsemen."

Prohibition Series

This week on KYW In Depth, John McDevitt and Paul Kurtz (a.k.a. The Beer and Booze Broz — check out the podcast) take over the show with the story of Prohibition in Philadelphia, from historic Old City speakeasies to a senior center in South Philly where the descendants of bootleggers recall how their parents and grandparents turned a ban on booze into a business opportunity.

Each week, KYW In Depth will take you inside a story that matters to the Philadelphia region. With original reporting and compelling interviews, the most experienced news team in Philadelphia radio goes beyond the headlines and into the captivating details surrounding a local story. Subscribe here, on the RADIO.COM app on your smartphone, or wherever you listen to podcasts.