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Cumberland, Maryland (Prohibition Era)


Prohibition Era Click on the MEDIA ITEMS below for more information

   



On Saturday night, July 11, 1925, one of the most ingeniously hidden stills ever found in this section was discovered at the home of James R. Smith on Roberts Street when an oil stove in a secret room in the cellar exploded and set fire to the house. When firemen reached the house, they found it filled with smoke which was gushing through the floor of the parlor and through the floor around the flue in a front bedroom on the second floor. For some time the firemen were unable to trace the fire, although the smoke appeared to be coming from the cellar. Finally, against the strenuous protest of the family, they began to dig through the floors of the parlor and the bedroom. Beneath the parlor floor they found a layer of earth about a foot thick and then a rough board ceiling, which covered a secret room in the cellar. In the upstairs bedroom they found that a four-foot flue terminated at the floor of that room and from that point up through the roof was only and eighteen-inch flue. A ladder led from a hole in the floor down through the wide flue into the secret room, but the heat was so intense that the firemen were unable to descend the secret passageway until the fire in the basement was extinguished through the holes cut in the parlor floor. Finally, when an examination could be made, it was found that the still and wash barrels had been apparently placed in one end of the cellar which was then walled up, so that it was perfectly airtight. From this secret room a huge four-by-four flue led up to the second floor of the house and served as a passageway. One end of the passageway served as a flue, which carried off the fumes from the secret room, and the thick layer of earth between the ceiling of the room and the floor above kept any odor of the mash from getting into the house. The only entrance to the secret room was through an opening in the upstairs bedroom which when



ID:
achm299

Page #:
299

Creator:
Miller, Herman J.

Rights:
Mayor and Council, City of Cumberland

Date:
1978

Collection Location:
Cumberland

Original Size:
27 x 20 cms

Contributor:
Stegmaier, Harry

Subject:
Cumberland (Md.), history

Coverage:
Cumberland (Md.), 1700-1976

 
 
Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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