The Portland Club hosted the Roaring ’20s Rumrunners Ball on New Year’s Eve, drawing 150 revelers dressed in pinstripes and pearls, just like they blared at a speakeasy in 1923.
“The 20s and Prohibition are fun themes,” said club member Gail Belt, who purchased the headband, hanging bag, long cigarette holder and boa online.
The organizers of the event clearly enjoyed the theme, posting ban propaganda and “wanted” posters with club member names and mugshots. At the front door of the club on State Street, there was a sign that read, “Closed for Violation of National Prohibition by Order of the United States District Court.”
Buxton’s Tess Cardona said, “I thought it was going to be a 1920s party, so I thought it would be fun to dress up like New Year’s Halloween.” Two of dozens of first-time visitors to see the event, intrigued to buy tickets and dress up to dance the night away with the Northern Brew Band and the Laszlo Family .band.
“Clubing has something to do with Prohibition, so this subject has always been on our to-do list.
In 1886 the group chose the name Portland Club because the club’s founder, Republican Fred Dow, often entertained political allies at his West End home. If Dow’s name sounds familiar, it may be because Fred’s father, Neil, his Dow, was the mayor of Portland who succeeded in banning the sale and production of alcohol statewide in 1851. . It was an incident known as the “Portland Rum Riot”. It marked the end of that particular ban period and the end of Neil Dow’s political ambitions.
However, Fred Dow served in the Maine House of Representatives, including Speaker of the House, and ran the newspaper The Evening Express, which he later sold, along with the Maine Sunday Telegram, to its owners. Portland Press Herald. When he was nearly 80 years old, Portland his club acquired Hannewell his Shepley mansion, which he built to Alexander his parris design in 1805, and later John Calvin Stevens built his Updated revival of. Club membership covers building maintenance and preservation costs.
With this backstory, it’s entirely possible that Fred Dow spent the New Year in this same place a century ago.
Jack Welliver, a member who owns neighborhood bar LFK, said, “Prohibition was an important time when there was a lot of countercultural activity and social change. ‘And this place still stood.'”
In 1919, just before Prohibition, Fred Dow wrote in his club history: Alcohol and casual games are permitted on the premises. Most importantly, people of all political persuasions are welcome to participate. ”
It is even more true today. His 120 members of the Portland club have only two things in common. And they pay membership fees of $350 per person or $550 per couple to maintain the facility and socially gather for pool tournaments, monthly Thirsty Thursday socials, and seasonal parties. .
Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer and photographer based in Scarborough.she can be reached at [email protected]
If you look closely, Kathy Butterley’s pottery is hilarious and clever.