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The battle over alcohol was formative in the early years of this nation. “Dry Evanston: The Untold Story,” a new exhibit at the Evanston History Center in commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the 18th (Prohibition) Amendment, reveals how Evanston took on the fight, from its founding in the 1850s through the 20th century.
Starting in the early 19th century, many Americans felt that alcohol consumption was so harmful that it needed to be addressed, even prohibited.
Others felt that this was unnecessary, governmental policing of behavior that was essentially harmless.
Still others – brewers, distillers and distributors – could see the money to be made. Evanston was the epicenter for the temperance and prohibition movements, modeling and influencing national trends and opinions in dramatic and surprising ways.
Featuring original photographs, artifacts, archival materials and costumes that tell the story, “Dry Evanston: the Untold Story” will open on June 12 with a 6:30 p.m. reception prior to the Evanston History Center’s annual members meeting.
Lori Osborne, EHC historian and exhibit curator, will offer brief remarks and light refreshments will be served. Admission is free.
Beginning June 13, visitors to the History Center can see the exhibit during regular tour hours – 1-4 p.m. Thursday-Sunday. Admission is $10 per person. The exhibit will continue through January 2020.
Joint tours of the Frances Willard House, home to the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, will be offered in conjunction with “Dry Evanston.”
Tours of the Willard House are available 1-4 p.m. on Thursdays and Sundays June through October.
In addition to the local story, the national story will be highlighted in the traveling exhibit “Spirited: Prohibition in America,” which will visit the Evanston History Center for six weeks in fall.