Hatchetations, interrupted

The temperance movement may have won the prohibition war (temporarily), but a minor battle was lost just down the road from here, in Butte.

Despite the reformers’ best efforts, Butte’s demimonde was larger and seedier than ever by 1910. That year the federal census recorded Butte’s highly transient population at more than 39,000 and enumerated more than 250 prostitutes.  In 1910 when temperance crusader Carrie Nation came to Butte, “booze joints” in nearby Anaconda sported signs that read: “All Nations Are Welcome Except Carrie.” Butte’s morally upright citizens, who had invited Nation, welcomed her with open arms, yet her performance failed to match their expectations.  With a flourish and a crowd in tow, the stout sixty-three-year-old Nation charged down the length of Pleasant Alley. Once back on Mercury Street, she stormed into the Irish World, where she met her match in madam May Maloy. The two women joined in a scuffle, and Nation emerged the obvious loser. It was a moment savored by May’s patrons and celebrated with drinks all around. – Ellen Baumler, Montana Historical Society

Nation died 6 months later.

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