San Francisco

San Francisco was a busy port in many rum-running operations during Prohibition. The following stories regarding San Francisco illustrate the large flow of liquor passing through the city and the dangers associated with Prohibition and its enforcement.

  • In 1927 Prohibition officials engaged a rum-runner out on the bay. Machine guns were used, and when the rum-runner finally abandoned the boat, $200,000 worth of liquor was seized.

  • Later, in 1931, nineteen men went to court for smuggling liquor from San Francisco to Los Angeles. They reportedly smuggled 36,000 gallons of liquor—worth $125,000.

  • San Francisco also had a problem with pharmacists selling denatured alcohol to alcoholics during prohibition. Such druggists were described as “competing with the bootleggers."

  • In 1930, a pregnant woman was caught with liquor and was given a $300 dollar fine. Because she could not pay this fine, she was forced to serve 75 days in prison. While in prison, she gave birth to a stillborn, prompting many to question Prohibition's worth.


BULLETS FLY IN RUM CHASE, Los Angeles Times (1886-Current File); Feb 12, 1927; ProQuest Historical Newspapers Los Angeles Times (1881 – 1986), pg. 1

Death of Baby Born in Prison Brings Dry Fight The Atlanta Constitution (1881-2001); Jan 19, 1930; ProQuest Historical Newspapers Atlanta Constitution (1868 - 1939)pg. 4A

POISON-RUM FIGHT OPENS IN BAY CITY, Los Angeles Times (1886-Current File); Aug 2, 1928; ProQuest Historical Newspapers Los Angeles Times (1881 – 1986), pg. 18

RUM SUSPECTS TO FACE COURT, Los Angeles Times (1886-Current File); May 18, 1931; ProQuest Historical Newspapers Los Angeles Times (1881 – 1986), pg. A3