DES MOINES: Hosted in Des Moines by the Woodmont Country Club on the shores of Puget Sound, The Good Bootlegger’s Guild shocked its membership last week with a resolution recommending that the 104-year-old Club adopt the prohibition, using language from the 18th Amendment, ratified and adopted January 16, 1919.
The “Woodmont Prohibition Resolution” surprised the over 125 attending Guild members, because the Guild exists to celebrate the life, times, and memory of Roy Olmstead, the Northwest’s Rumrunning King, with whiskey toasts from featured local distilleries. A monument to Roy Olmstead was dedicated last year. The Guild typically requires attending politicians to take a pledge to never “repeal the repeal” of prohibition.
However, there was a larger method to what appeared to be madness. Buried within the Woodmont Prohibition Resolution was an automatic repeal – a sunset clause – that kicked in just 60 seconds after passage. The Resolution, in part, states:
“RESOLVED: It shall be prohibited and thereby illegal to manufacture, sell, transport, import, export, or consume intoxicating liquors within, to or from, the boundaries of the Woodmont Country Club, located in the City Des Moines, County of King, State of Washington, United States of America. Following the moment of passage of this Resolution, an immediate countdown of exactly 60 seconds shall begin, after which the aforementioned prohibition shall automatically hereby be repealed.”
Why a prohibition, followed by a repeal? As explained by Guild spokesman Ted Stevenson, the Guild believes that its mission to celebrate all things Northwest Prohibition would be enhanced by a “living” of the mechanics of prohibition, and that the good historical work of the Guild might receive additional attention if in fact Woodmont, Des Moines – the site of Roy Olmstead’s final arrest by federal agents in a daring Thanksgiving Day raid in 1925 – is also in fact both Washington State’s “last dry place” and the State’s last community to repeal. Previously, the community of Fircrest, Washington, claimed the “last dry place” status when it voted to repeal in 2015.
The Guild membership, shot glasses in hand and raised high, unanimously passed the Resolution. It is believed that all members dutifully observed prohibition for the full 60 second countdown. “The final ten second countdown was loud and something to behold,” said Stevenson. “Just like in 1933, the people really liked the repeal.”
The 2019 Annual Meeting of the Guild, also known as “TGBG,” featured storytelling by the founder of Auburn-based Blackfish Distilleries; the “re-introduction” of an alleged 1920’s Seattle “Old Roy Dog,” created onsite by Lil J’s Superdawgs and some Blackfish spirit-infused Harper Farms hot sauce; and TGBG founder Steve Edmiston’s “telling of the tale” about Olmstead’s journey from Seattle cop to rumrunning king, Olmstead’s capture in the dramatic Woodmont Dock Raid, his journey to the U.S. Supreme Court to contest illegal wiretapping, his prison time at McNeil Island, and his pardon by Franklin D. Roosevelt. The event was interrupted by the surprise arrival of a 1924 Model-T and 1928 Packard, each carrying some of the alleged lost whiskey” from Olmstead’s last shipment.
About The Good Bootlegger’s Guild
The Guild celebrates the life and times of the Northwest’s Rumrunning King, Roy Olmstead, and The Annual Meeting (a.k.a. “TGBG”) has become a summer highlight for the Woodmont/Des Moines community, connecting residents, historians, whiskey lovers, politicians, and even legal scholars. The event has become known for linking storytelling with unexpected re-enactments and performance art, ranging from a team of frogmen appearing out of Puget Sound with a case of “Glenoldroy lost whiskey” to a ghost boat summoned out of the past by a long-lost radio call. The Guild has been retained as historical consultant for a motion picture in development with the filmmakers behind the locally-produced The Maury Island Incident. Guild members Steve Edmiston and Scott Schaefer frequently speak on Roy Olmstead and Northwest prohibition, recently including a three-part speaker series at Smith Tower. Edmiston served as narrator for the Travel Channel’s 2019 Legendary Locations show on the subjects of Smith Tower and Roy Olmstead; and the duo are scheduled to speak at the Washington State Historical Museum in December in celebration of Repeal Day.
More about The Good Bootlegger’s Guild: