Bone Dry Mayhem

In 1925, Alaska was under the “Bone Dry” law which was a very strict version of Prohibition. The federal agent in charge of busting producers of alcohol in Fairbanks was D. W. Flanagan, who would show up at the door with or without a search warrant causing a lot of mayhem for the thirstier residents of the Golden Heart City.

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner January 5, 1925


Today at some hour, the 96 quarts of “what not” that were seized by federal authorities last Friday afternoon, were opened and spilled—utterly destroyed and gone forever.

An order of the district court demanded that the marshal’s office take over the job and make away with the stuff as soon as possible—so now it is no more.

Let the man to whom it was consigned, whoever he may be, breathe one last sigh of relief. No longer shall that trunk and box hold any fascination for him—no longer will he think and look longingly toward the depot—no longer will the imagined taste of Scotch whiskey taunt his palate—no longer will he need to think of what might have been—it’s gone!

Four months later we have this amusing story:

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner May 12, 1925


One entire, complete, distilling outfit with all the accessories, was seen floating down Chena slough last evening about 11 o’clock. To those who had witnessed the raid earlier in the evening it seemed that the sacrifice on the part of the distiller, whomever it may be, was quite worthwhile. Raids are unpleasant things, particularly for the person involved.

With malice aforethought, some one who had been making something with a still decided that once put in the slough the still could do no further damage.

A steak of foam on the slough, followed by and unpleasant smell, attracted our attention, and we glanced over to the river to see a large still with coils and other apparatus floating peacefully downstream. Someone had come to the realization that D. W. Flannigan was in town.

Note: At least the fish were happy in those days! Next time you are in Pioneer Park stop in at the Pioneer Museum and check out the display of some of the old prohibition era stills like the one that was sent to Nome via the all-water route in today’s nugget. This intoxicating History Nugget has been proudly brought to you by Men’s Igloo No. 4 and Women’s Igloo No. 8 of the Pioneers of Alaska.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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