VERSAILLES — It was widely reported that when legendary Al Capone was arrested on tax evasion, he was asked where he was getting his boot-leg. The mobster reportedly said he had the best French booze money could buy.
No one in Chicago could connect those dots back to Darke County, Ohio, and the tiny hamlet of Frenchtown where the craft of making homemade liquor was a time honored tradition past down from generation to generation. North to Osgood, east to Willowdell, south to Webster, everyone made moonshine. The only problem was the U.S. constitution and the 18th amendment which outlawed the manufacturing and consumption of alcohol.
Darke County’s secrets were kept pretty quiet with only a few arrests. But during this period much was consumed and even more was manufactured.
The Versailles Historical Society invites the public to travel back on the rural dirt roads of northeastern Darke County to a roadhouse in 1928 where jazz was the music, the Charleston was the dance and the liquor followed. Stories will be shared without names.
The Father Jaekle room at the K of C Hall will be transformed into a Road house of the roaring ’20s. The meal will be a postcard from the diners of the era and a cup of probation punch is included.
“You’ll be able to meet and greet locals dressed in the style, sample an appetizer table straight out of the Great Gatsby and enjoy live music of the period,” said a spokesperson. “Word has it that some of Al’s friends might even visit from Chicago!”
Sunday is the deadline to order tickets for this fun evening that supports the programs and new displays that keep the Versailles Area Museum a unique treasure in the community.
Tickets are $50 each or $45 for members and includes a period dinner, appetizers, dessert and “punch.” A bar will be available for other adult beverages of the period for a small charge. Call the museum at 937-526-4222 or Jim Kelch, coordinator, at 937-467-1585 to reserve seats today.