Prohibition in Kansas City

John Simonson
Missouri Valley Sundays
In a discussion of his new book Prohibition in Kansas City, Missouri: Highballs, Spooners & Crooked Dice, local historian and blogger John Simonson recalls our city’s wide-open era of illegal booze and bootleggers and speakeasies, of corrupt police and politicians and moralizing reformers.
Sunday, May 6, 2018
Program: 
2:00 pm
Like many cities during Prohibition, Kansas City had illegal booze, bootleggers, and speakeasies, as well as corrupt police and politicians and moralizing reformers. A place that wanted to be the wholesome “Heart of America” was cast instead as the wicked “Paris of the Plains.”

In a discussion of his new book Prohibition in Kansas City, Missouri: Highballs, Spooners & Crooked Dice, local historian and blogger John Simonson resurrects forgotten stories of the era in spotlighting the places where a person could order a drink, place a bet, and engage in salacious activities. Drawing from newspaper coverage of the day, he also dispels the long-held belief that Kansas City was a place where Prohibition was not enforced, and shows that much of the nostalgia about its “wide-open” reputation came after the 18th Amendment’s repeal in 1933.