2007-09-21 / Columnists

Historical Views of the Rockaways

Built Sleeker than A Femme-Fatale!
From The Rockaway Museum Commentary by Emil Lucev,Curator Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S.Locke

Back in the waning days of World War I, while most American boys were over in Europe settling their problems (the Europeans', that is) the "drys" in America got their big chance and finally had the Volstead Act passed by Congress - to outlaw all alcoholic beverages in the United States.

This ushered in the age of "prohibition," and increased gangster activity from coast to coast, and border to border.

Since liquor and beer were outlawed in the states, they and the ingredients to make same, had to be smuggled in by boats and trucks!

This gave rise to a new type of law- breaking individual known as ...a "Rum-Runner."

The liquor smugglers' boats were sleek and fast, and it was reported that the boat builders who built the police and federal government boats used to chase and subdue these rum-runners, also made the same boats for the smugglers' use, and made them a bit faster for the law breakers than the boats for the authorities and the coast guard!

Thanks to E.S. of the West End, today's view gives us a look at a boat used by rum-runners during prohibition, which started in 1919 and ended in 1933.

The bill to end prohibition was instituted by Congressman William F. Brunner, a Rockaway boy!

Yours truly was told that this particular craft was powered by two Pratt and Whitney aircraft engines, but there were no figures known as to the length of the boat or the width of the beam.

Can a boater out there in "Wave Land" inform us about this?

The name of the boat is way out of focus, and is unknown.

I imagine that the "hold" could supply space for 50 more or maybe 100 cases of illegal "hooch."

But only a 'bootlegger' who plied the rum-runner trade would know that. Are any ex-bootleggers still around in "Wave Land"?

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