Prohibition in the Hudson Valley: Along the Bootleg Trail
Author: Eleanor Rubin Charwat
28 pages, paperback
Did you know that during Prohibition the Hudson Valley was part of the Bootleg Trail between Canada and New York City? Or that New York gangsters Legs Diamond and Dutch Schultz feuded here? Or what Dutchess County lawmen did with the moonshine they confiscated?
Find the answers to these and other facts in Eleanor Charwat’s “Prohibition in the Hudson Valley: Along the Bootleg Trail”.
Eleanor is a Poughkeepsie native, who became interested in Prohibition while researching a book about her father, Nathaniel Rubin, a local attorney for 58 years. She retired as executive director of the Marist College School of Adult Education and is an active community volunteer.
Preface: “I first became interested in bootlegging in the Hudson Valley while I was writing a book about my father’s 59-year legal career in Poughkeepsie. Dad was investigating the Dutchess County Sheriff’s office in 1939 when he was asked by the U.S. Attorney’s office in New York City to adjourn his public hearings until the U.S. Attorney’s office concluded its conspiracy trial against a gang that had conducted a vast bootlegging operation in Dutchess Cunty. That operation cost the Federal government more than $2.5 million in liquor taxes.
That was the first I knew that bootlegging was a big operation in my home country. I researched local newspapers from the 1920s and 1930s for articles about Prohibition, read relevant books, and gave dozens of talks on the subject. At each talk, members of the audience contributed stories and anecdotes they had heard from their family and neighbors about secret speakeasies, and how the income derived from bootleg liquor helped people survive the Depression. “