Photo courtesy of Rockpile Museum
For 14 years in the early 20th century, the country was dry as bars, saloons, and distilleries went underground in what many consider one of country’s most misguided efforts in governing American morality and behavior. On Dec. 5, 1933, many threw large parties when the 21st Amendment was finally ratified, thus ending the Prohibition Era during which alcohol use and sales were considered crimes.
This Thursday, the Campbell County Rockpile Museum and Pizza Carrello will also celebrate that notorious reversal with a History Pub event at the museum.
“We’re trying something new to reach a broader audience here in Campbell County and the region,” Rockpile Museum Educator Stephan Zacharias said.
The museum’s Saloon and Bar Exhibit, which opened in 2008, is full of rich Campbell County prohibition information and relics, such as warrants and confiscated items, according to Zacharias.
The exhibit speaks to the old legend of Gillette’s Bermuda Triangle, which consisted of three downtown drinking establishments, the Montgomery Bar, the Center Bar, and The Lobby, in which men would apparently go into the area for the evening, and once they disappeared in the triangle, would not come out for the evening.
It further provides details about one distillery, formerly located in the Pumpkin Buttes region of rural Campbell County, where a lit fire on the top of the butte once signaled to Natrona County customers that the product was ready. It also includes insights into the life of J.L. Kaufman, the owner of the Montgomery Hotel, who pled guilty to multiple charges that violated Wyoming’s liquor and gambling laws and was ordered by the court to lock the basement and storeroom up for one year.
The social hour on Thursday, which begins at 6 p.m. in the museum’s annex building, will feature hors d’oeuvres from Pizza Carrello and Prohibition Era-inspired drinks served in the museum’s Saloon and Bar Exhibit, along with Black Tooth Brewing Company’s Sheridan Beer. At 7 p.m., Mark Demple, the great-grandson of one of the co-founders of Sheridan Brewing Company, will present the history of his family’s company and the prohibition in Wyoming.
“This event is an opportunity to focus on part of the museum that most people may not have seen before,” Zacharias added.
While the event is free and open to everyone, it is geared toward the 21 and over crowd, Zacharias said, and guests are encouraged to dress in Prohibition Era attire.
For more information, call the museum at (307) 682-5723 or visit www.rockpilemuseum.com.