If there really was a lull in the flowing of the poppy juice, it did not occur until long after the hour set by law

From the Jan. 1, 1914, Duluth News Tribune

Revelers laugh at law calling for early close

In two hotels the price brings liquid refreshment after hours with no questions asked and no evidence of police as delirium marks new year.

“Five dollars for a table and a bottle of wine,” the going quotation at Holland – “It’s after hours; can’t be served,” greeted with wild laughter.

A scene of revelry by night such as the St. Louis Hotel café has seldom if ever before experienced took place last night and early this morning. Hundreds of Duluthians from all walks of life sat at tables with their friends and drank, sang and danced until the supply of liquid refreshment was practically exhausted. Some said it was some revel. Others who were more sane, and who [illegible] to enter the café to await the coming of the new year, declared solemnly they had never before witnessed such an event.

Men and women, plainly showing the effect of too much imbibing, dispersed themselves foolishly, much to the amusement of the unfortunates, who arrived too late to “get in” on the celebration.

Wine Flows Freely

Wine flowed. Beer also flowed. The small, crinkly edged caps from the myriad bottles made excellent things to throw across the room. And were they thrown? Oh, yes, indeed. And every time one of the innocent little beer bottle caps struck somebody’s old college friend in the eye, everybody shrieked with laughter.

It took less than that to make them shriek with laughter. If the waiter said it’s too late to get anything more, everybody laughed. Even when the singer lady did her best with a selection from “Carmen” they laughed. The should not have done it, but they did.

The very best joke, however, was that one the waiter sprung. The idea, you know, they told one another, of having a New Year’s celebration and stop sellin’ “licker” at 11 o’clock!

It took very little trouble to convince the white-coated gentlemen that it was a joke, too, and if there really was a lull in the flowing of the poppy juice, it did not occur until long after the hour set by law as well as the Hicken ordinance – 11 o’clock – the time when the sale of intoxicating liquors should cease – not excepting New Year’s eve.

Waiters Rush Until 12:45

As late as 11:30 o’clock the waiters were rushing madly to make deliveries on last calls. At 12:45 they were doing the same thing. Nearly everybody was supplied by that time, however, for humble beer and aristocratic champagne were heaped high on the tables in buckets of ice.

As the first whistles commenced to shriek at 11:45 o’clock, so also did the crowd reach the zenith of shrieking. It howled. It sang “My Hero,” and “It’s Apple Blossom Time in Normandy,” at the top of its many voices. It mounted upon the tables. It yelled and laughed and tried to empty bottles down many of the necks in its midst. It was a seething, howling, exceedingly boisterous mob which packed the Woodland café to overflowing, but it was a mighty happy crowd, at that.

The New Year must have been astonished.

Getting down to the serious side of the matter, the law was openly violated almost into the new year. At exactly 11:25 champagne was bought at one table, and the money was paid into the waiter’s hands a few moments later. It was seen being delivered at other tables steadily for 15 minutes later than that.

$5 Price at Holland

Although the bar at the Holland Hotel closed promptly at 11 p.m., it was stated by management that it was possible to secure a bottle of wine in the café after hours by purchasing a seat at the table which cost $5 and entitled the holder to supper and the “fiz-water.”

Spalding Guests Orderly

Three hundred of Duluth’s representative citizens and their friends and families observed the entrance of the new year at the Spalding.

In accordance with the announcement of Edwin H. Lee, managing director, that liquid refreshments would be served only until 11 o’clock, the celebrants bought supplies in advance and proceeded to do all full justice.

At midnight there was much hand-clapping and a little singing. Otherwise the occasion was marked only by guests passing from table to table, extending their wishes for the new year.

And here are some editorial cartoons making the passing of 1913 into 1914. Click them to see them larger.

This post brought to you by Menter Co.

1 Comment

Paul Lundgren

about 4 years ago

The previous day's paper listed some of the parties in town, so you can decide which one to go to in your time machine.

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