Monday, March 10, 2008

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The Stills of Dubois County

Photo from Dubois County Museum (Jasper, Indiana)
Ray Hinkle, chief of the State Excise Police from Indianapolis,
Bruce Maxwell, captain from Indianapolis,
and Robert Nordhoff, lieutenant in charge of the Southern Indiana district
pose with stills confiscated in 1937.

Because of its popularity, the area's moonshine became widely known
as "Dubois County Dew" and was secretly hauled as far as Chicago, St. Louis and Louisville, Ky. In one city, some was delivered to a high-ranking member of the clergy with the code phrase:
"The hymnals have arrived."

~ Greg Eckerle

Al Capone must have been the busiest gangster in all the Midwest. It seems you can't meet an old-school moonshiner who didn't meet, see, or hear of ol' Scarface surfacing at still sites, bootlegging warehouses, and even Florida boat slips to help personally haul in the wet goods. When it comes to tales of moonshining and bootlegging, though, it's fair to say that stories outweigh facts by a wide margin. And who doesn't love a good story? I'm not saying Capone didn't do all those things, but even the sleep-prone George Washington didn't get around that much.

Not surprisingly, Capone gets mention in a new exhibit called "The Stills of Dubois County" at the Dubois County Museum in Jasper, Indiana. Unlike some of the more obscure places the crime boss was said to have appeared, it's not out of the question that he might have been down inspecting wares. Dubois County, after all, is not so far from Chicago and well within the old moonshine belt.

The exhibit explores the role of moonshine and moonshining in southern Indiana during the early twentieth century. If you're in the neighborhood, stop to check it out.

Dubois County Museum
2704 Newton St.
Jasper, IN 47546

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