Dry Evanston: The Untold Story

The battle over alcohol was formative in the early years of our nation. Dry Evanston: The Untold Story, a new exhibit at the Evanston History Center in commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the 18th (Prohibition) Amendment, reveals how Evanston took on the fight, from its founding in the 1850s through the 20th century.

Starting in the early 19th century, many Americans felt that alcohol consumption was so harmful that it needed to be addressed, even prohibited. Others felt that this was unnecessary, governmental policing of behavior that was essentially harmless. Still others, brewers, distillers and distributors, could see the money to be made. Evanston was the epicenter for the temperance and prohibition movements, modeling and influencing national trends and opinions in dramatic and surprising ways.

Featuring original photographs, artifacts, archival materials and costumes that tell the story, Dry Evanston: the Untold Story will open on Wednesday, June 12, 2019 with a 6:30 p.m. reception prior to the Evanston History Center (EHC) Annual Members Meeting. Lori Osborne, EHC historian and exhibit curator, will offer brief remarks and light refreshments will be served. Admission is free.

Beginning Thursday, June 13th, visitors to the history center can see the exhibit during regular tour hours – Thursday-Sunday from 1- 4 p.m. Admission is $10 per person. The exhibit will continue its run through January 2020.

Special joint tours of the Frances Willard House, home to the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, will be offered in conjunction with Dry Evanston. Purchase admission to either the Willard House or the Dawes House to receive your coupon for half-off tours at the other museum. Tours of the Willard House are available on Thursdays and Sundays from 1-4 p.m. from June-October of 2019.

In addition to the local story, the national story will be highlighted in the traveling exhibit Spirited: Prohibition in America which will visit the Evanston History Center for six weeks in fall of 2019.