Miners Hall Museum Hosts Presentation on Bootlegging

Miners Hall Museum Hosts Presentation on Bootlegging
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Southeast Kansas residents pack the Miners Hall Museum to learn about outlawed bootlegging that took place in the region’s old mining days.

Visitors listen to a recorded lecture from University of Nevada, Reno professor Ken Peak, a Girard resident who wrote a book about the topic.

For many, living in the old mining towns outlawed bootlegging provided a source of income during tough economic times when the mines closed down, workers went on strike, and of course during prohibition.

One of the most unique bootlegging artifacts the museum has on display is an electric heat stick that had to be screwed into a light socket.

“What they would do with that is, they would put their moonshine, which is clear, in a charcoal lined barrel and then they would put this stick down in there and shock it. And the sugar in the alcohol would turn kind of a brownish color and get the color from the charcoal so it looked much more like bourbon than it just did gin,” says Miner Hall Museum Board Member Alan Roberts.

The exhibit on bootlegging and the struggles many of the Balkan immigrants in Southeast Kansas faced is open until September 26th. On August 2nd the museum will host a demonstration on how to make beer at home, and later on September 20th a demonstration on wine-making.