Bootleggers Cove, Anchorage

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Bootleggers Cove, Anchorage

by | Sep 21, 2020

Bootleggers Cove, also known as Bootlegger Cove, is a coastal neighborhood located along the tidal flats of Cook Inlet between Westchester Lagoon and downtown Anchorage, Alaska. The Alaska Railroad and the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail follow the coastline between the residences and the tidal flats. Bootleggers Cove is named for the historical smuggling of alcohol.

In 1918, the Alaska Bone Dry Law took effect, prohibiting the importing, manufacture, or selling of alcohol. This was two years before the rest of the United States entered Prohibition following the ratification of the 18th Amendment. The consumption of alcohol remained legal in Alaska, and after 1918 was fueled by illicitly obtained liquor. The police frequently found and destroyed stills and arrested bootleggers, but Alaskans of all classes and wealth continued to drink in abundance. In Anchorage, certain establishments acted as fronts for alcohol, especially cigar stores and pool halls. Some of the bootlegged alcohol was imported from Canada but most of it was moonshine distilled in Alaska.

Notorious local characters such as Russian Jack Marchin, and Ed Olsen the Phantom Swede, used Bootleggers Cove for local deliveries. In 1925, Olsen was arrested by U.S Marshalls and 120 gallons (546 l) of “white mule” liquor were seized in the woods along Chester Creek near Bootleggers Cove. In 1933, the Alaska Bone Dry Act and the 18th Amendment were repealed, ending Prohibition in Alaska and nationally. Read more here and here. Explore more of Bootleggers Cove here:

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