Anti-Saloon League and Prohibition in Ohio

Anti-Saloon League window display, circa 1910. Courtesy of the Westerville Public Library. Via Ohio Memory.

Ohio has become well known for its love of beer in recent years, the state currently houses over 400 craft breweries. However, Ohio was not always so welcoming to alcohol. In the late 1800s, during the Temperance movement, the movement to promote complete abstinence from the consumption and sale of alcohol, the Anti-Saloon League was founded in Ohio. To the right is a picture of their Ohio office.

Anti-Saloon League, Ohio office, 1914. Courtesy of the Westerville Public Library. Via Ohio Memory.

The Anti-Saloon League was founded in 1893 in Oberlin, Ohio. The League’s main goal was to support the Temperance movement and lobby for prohibition, a legal way to ban the sale and consumption of alcohol. During its time, the Anti-Saloon League would gain more political lobbying power than any other Temperance group in the United States. Pictured here is a window display by the League in Medina County attempting to persuade voters to vote no on alcohol licensing. By 1919 with the ratification of the 18th amendment the Anti-Saloon League accomplished its goal of prohibition on a national level.

The passing of the 18th amendment prohibited the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcohol in the United States, just as the Anti-Saloon League lobbied for. After a little over a decade of prohibition however, public sentiment turned. By the time of the Great Depression in the early 1930s there was a very public push to repeal the 18th amendment and make alcohol manufacture, sale, and transportation legal once again. Franklin Delano Roosevelt would run part of his campaign on the promise to repeal, his victory in 1932 ensured the passing of the 21st amendment, which repealed the 18th, ending national prohibition.

Born & Co Brewery Advertisement, Columbus Ohio, 1894. Courtesy of the Ohio History Connection. Via Ohio Memory.

Although breweries like the one pictured above in Columbus, Ohio, were forced to close due to the Anti-Saloon’s efforts and prohibition, their legacy in Ohio lives on; despite Born & Co never reopening after the passage of the 21st amendment, the street it was on is now a part of what Columbus residents refer to as the “Brewery District,” housing six breweries within walking distance of one another.

Thank you to Lauren Kennedy, Digital Projects Coordinator at the Ohio History Connection, for this week’s post!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.