Hopping to Jail

Today’s news is full of stories about the Opioid Crisis that has had quite an impact everywhere, even in the early days. But the solution to the problem was different than what we do today. The following story from 1910, gives a glimpse of how the addiction issue was dealt with. (In those days, Opium was referred to as “Hop”.)

Alaska Citizen – September 19, 1910


Three men and one woman are cooling their heels in the city’s calaboose, two other women are slated for blue tickets to be used on the first available boat, a collection of hop pipes and the paraphernalia that goes with an opium joint, and a set of pens, inks and brushes such as are usually used in the raising of money by experts, sums up the total results of a raid made by the Chief of Police on Saturday night.

Two of the men, Jack Reagan and “Starchy,” will probably be up before Commissioner Dillon today with a serious charge preferred against them. A collection of crooked “tools” was found in the cabin occupied by them near the corner of Fifth and Dunkle, such as would blast the reputation of a Sunday school teacher, and there was also, it is alleged, practically positive proof that the house has been run as an opium joint.

Gene Glosterman was found in a raid on Dora Bennett’s place, and he is at the city jail with a vagrant tag on him. The woman, Betty Smith, will be requested to take the first boat for parts remote.

“Signorita,” a lady of Mexican lineage, is also to plead her case this morning. She will appear before Magistrate Clark and tell how it was she came to be in a half crazy state from the effects of “hop” at the time the raid was made.

The Chief of Police got especially busy on Saturday night on account of some of the women on the row (the city’s designated prostitution district,) not taking seriously his order that there should be no liquor sold there. In the cabins occupied by the Smith and Bennett women, he found evidence that liquor was being sold, and it was on this account that they are ordered out of town.

Note: It is interesting that there was counterfeiting with the drug trade in 1910. There was no rehab, no plea bargains, only relocation for those who posed a threat to civilized polite society. Only prostitutes who would follow the rules were allowed. This blue ticket 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.

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