The Whiskey Wars at Corbin’s Saloon

Picture by Angela Kirk

Doc has taken me to some interesting places, but where we went last Thursday ranks near the top. We started out at the Anti-Saloon League Museum in Westerville, Ohio. Doc had signed us up for a walking tour of a Temperance Timeline of Events that took us to all of the places involved in prohibition from 1893 to 2006. All of it was quite interesting, but my favorite part of the tour was the story about the Whiskey Wars at Corbin’s Saloon.

Henry Corbin ran the only saloon in Westerville, Ohio. Being that his neighbors were anti-alcohol they blew up the saloon in 1875. Apparently Mr. Corbin was not easily intimidated by his non-drinking neighbors, so he built another saloon in 1879 and you guessed it, the prohibitionists blew that one up too. In 1920, Prohibition became law across the entire United States so that was the end of legal alcohol sales for a while. When Prohibition was repealed in 1933 Henry Corbin started selling beer out of his downtown Westerville pool hall. The problem was that by now people were afraid to go into his establishment to buy it. They were probably afraid they might get blown up!

Eventually Corbin’s Saloon was rebuilt and still stands today at its original site. If Henry Corbin were still alive I think he would be surprised to know that Westerville did not allow alcohol to be served again until 2006. Today many establishments in Westerville serve alcohol although some residents still don’t approve. Doc told me there was even arguing and resistance in her own family. Her fathers’ side of the family were strict Methodists and thought alcohol to be the root of all evils. It is said that Doc’s great-grandmother after finding out that the local bartender served her son alcohol went down to the bar with a horse whip and threatened the bartender. you can bet that man never gave her son another drink.

So what do you think? I would love to hear your opinions both pro and against about Prohibition.






2 responses to “The Whiskey Wars at Corbin’s Saloon”

  1. connie s siegle Avatar
    connie s siegle

    Dear Grover, I hope you and the Doc are doing well. A very interesting post although I admire Henry Corbin’s diligence and persistence I can’t help but wonder how things might be without the abundance of alcohol in America. It seems to me that a lot of people do not drink responsibly and sometimes people die due to the loss of reasoning skills that some people have while drinking, on the other hand,,, we still live in America home of the free and if someone wants a beer or a glass of wine with dinner, who am I to put the down.

    1. Grover Avatar

      Great comments Connie, thanks for weighing in on the debate.