Sesquicentennial Highlights

Sesquicentennial Highlights
Excerpts from the Dakota Republican

Dec. 24, 1891


At one time in the history of our fair city, saloons were considered absolutely necessary in the make up of a town and the creating of business activities. A town without them was considered dead. Some seemed unable to look beyond the immediate life and trade, which, it was supposed, the saloons brought to the city.

There were also those citizens in the early days of Vermillion who did not believe that saloons and view the names of the people – the real seats of prosperity or adversity. It was noticed by the observing that those who brought life and business to the town, through the saloons, generally left misery and poverty at home.

The sentiment against the saloon gradually grew until the University was established in Vermillion. Then the people were ready for action. It fell to the lot of Hon. Hans Myron to voice the sentiments of the people causing the enactment in the legislature of what was known as the three-mile law.

Since that time Vermillion has had no saloons. To say that no liquor has been sold would be false. There are those who, if it could be obtained in no other way, would themselves extract the food element from the grain and concentrate what would sustain life for several days into a volume small enough to be taken at one time yet strong enough to clog the life preserving machinery.

The obtaining the liquor of such men is not worth of mention. That Vermillion underwent a great change during this time, no one can deny. Business continued and flourished. Cash took the place of credit. No teams lined the sidewalks that night and men the gutters. Business was transacted by daylight and the evenings so generally found these men in their homes with ample provisions for the immediate wants. There was no complaint about dullness or lack of business. Under the new law the druggists took out permits with the sanction of some of our best citizens.

For a time they were cautious of the privilege thus given them. When the dens started on the sandbars and many citizens being uncertain as to the jurisdiction over these places, it appeared as though they would not be removed at this time at least. Then it was remarked that if liquor could be sold without restraint just outside the limits, why not in the city?

That an unusual amount of liquor has been sold in the city during the last 30 days cannot be denied; for the records will show it. Then comes another situation that is favored by some in view of the circumstances. One or more saloons will be permitted in the city; they will be fined regularly, this to take the place of a license.

The question now arises. Will the people and officers of the city sanction open saloons simply because more liquor is sold at the drug stores than we would wish? When people will make affidavits that liquor is really needed for medicinal purposes although the druggist is morally certain that it is not, yet in the eyes of the law he is expected to comply with the request. That druggists are making a handsome profit is no excuse for open saloons.

If the city prefers the revenue that might thus be obtained rather than have no place for the men and boys to which to drink and lounge about, Vermillion is __??_________. Will only then be the freedom of the others to sell.

If it is evident that druggists are over stepping the privileges granted them, let them be informed that sales must be decreased or their permits can and will be revoked.

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