Few residents want to discuss Gibralt...

Few residents want to discuss Gibraltar's role in Prohibition

There are 9 comments on the Detroit Free Press story from Oct 14, 2007, titled Few residents want to discuss Gibraltar's role in Prohibition. In it, Detroit Free Press reports that:

“What noise? We didn't hear a thing.”

You'd think after 74 years, tongues would loosen about what people did to accelerate the flow of booze from Canada to the United States during that 13-year experiment called Prohibition that ended in 1933. via Detroit Free Press

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Detroit Free Press.

summergirl07

United States

#1 Oct 14, 2007
I have lived in Gibraltar for almost my entire life, (43yrs, minus 2) I only heard rumors of tunnels, booze, and slavery. My stepmother has lived in Gibraltar all of her life (69 yrs) and her mother did too. My neighbor(80 yrs) and his father built the house I live in and many others in my neighborhood and have lived in Gibraltar all of their lives. None of these people talk about the Prohibition freely.

“LOOKING FOR GOOD NEWS”

Since: Dec 07

Allen Park, MI

#2 Dec 23, 2007
I am originally from Wyandotte, my mother lived in Ecorse most of her life, the came to Wyandotte with my father who was from Detroit. Your right "summergirl07", my parents didn't talk much about prohibition. Although she said at one time: "that my grandmother owned a speakeasy in Ecorse" she just made a few other comments, but I never thought about what she said, until a few years ago. I read alot about the history of Michigan. I have a few interesting books, about the "Purple Gang" "Rumrunning along the Detroit River" It is quite interesting history to read about. I am totally invoved in it. I am familiar with the downriver area. Gibraltar and Monroe figure signifantly . I have gone down Biddle Avenue to see some of the places where they talk about in books. I just imagine that era.
evelynv

Big Rapids, MI

#3 Aug 7, 2011
I lived in Gibraltar for two years while in middle school. The house we rented was said to be one of the "headquarters" for the Purple Gang on the Detroit River. The living quarters were on the second floor; the main level, set low, consisted only of a boathouse and a large, open area, presumably used for unloading contraband liquor, etc., brought in from Canada. To my youthful disappointment, the land had been filled in between the river and the boathouse, but it was quite easy (and thrilling!) to see how simple it would have been for smugglers coming down the River to motor down the river, cut their lights, slip into the boathouse, pull down the door and 'poof'- they're gone. To my delight, my neighbor had beautifully restored the 'speak-easy' the Gang had run in his basement. All the stories/legends held me in thrall, though as is often the case, the misery and violence spread by gangsters and their greed seemed to be glossed over.

Side note: I moved all around the world in my 55 years, but Gibraltar had more ghost/haunting stories than the other 20+ locals put together. I mean, people STILL saw and heard the unexplainable in the late 1960's and although I am a complete skeptic, there were a few incidents that still completely baffle me... voices, items rearranged, random odors, and even a (I can't believe I'm typing this, but it DID happen... didn't it?)... a sort-of feathery, wispy, er,... presence?!? in the hall outside my bedroom. I know, I know, it must be the freakish, dramatic, imagination of a 13-year-old, right? Maybe.... and yet? To this day, I can recall each incident with startling clarity - and the memories still evoke the same immobilized and thrilled terror that they did over 40 years ago. Brrrrrr.....:)
Chittwurff

Brighton, MI

#4 Aug 7, 2011
Grosse Ile was closest to Canada and it was widespread. In the 60's we used to drive to the crazy mans house at night. He lived in the basement of a large house. He would come out and tell us all the stories. On weekends their would be about 30 people sitting around listening to him. Life was cool back then.
evelynv

Big Rapids, MI

#5 Aug 7, 2011
Chittwurff wrote:
Grosse Ile was closest to Canada and it was widespread. In the 60's we used to drive to the crazy mans house at night. He lived in the basement of a large house. He would come out and tell us all the stories. On weekends their would be about 30 people sitting around listening to him. Life was cool back then.
If I remember correctly, we could see Grosse Ile from our backyard on the river... of course your island was the 'elite'- we used to take our boat around Grosse Ile at night to marvel at mansion after mansion, ablaze with light and the ineffable sounds & scents of 'old money.' When I read The Great Gatsby in high school, those images layered and enriched Fitzgerald's classic. Still,'the good old days' probably only seem so in retrospect: Vietnam and racial tensions dominated all our lives. Maybe that's why a ghost didn't bother me quite so much - and the Purple Gang seemed thrillingly romantic instead of an era of brutal greed.
Mian Duray

Gibraltar, Gibraltar

#7 Sep 22, 2011
I lived in Gibraltar for two years while in middle school. The house we rented was said to be one of the "headquarters" for the Purple Gang on the Detroit River. The living quarters were on the second floor; the main level, set low, consisted only of a boathouse and a large, open area, presumably used for unloading contraband liquor, etc., brought in from Canada. To my youthful disappointment, the land had been filled in between the river and the boathouse, but it was quite easy (and thrilling!) to see how simple it would have been for smugglers coming down the River to motor down the river, cut their lights, slip into the boathouse, pull down the door and 'poof'- they're gone. To my delight, my neighbor had beautifully restored the 'speak-easy' the Gang had run in his basement. All the stories/legends held me in thrall, though as is often the case, the misery and violence spread by gangsters and their greed seemed to be glossed over.

Side note: I moved all around the world in my 55 years, but Gibraltar had more ghost/haunting stories than the other 20+ locals put together. I mean, people STILL saw and heard the unexplainable in the late 1960's and although I am a complete skeptic, there were a few incidents that still completely baffle me... http://www.4dplanning.com voices, items rearranged, random odors, and even a (I can't believe I'm typing this, but it DID happen... didn't it?)... a sort-of feathery, wispy, er,... presence?!? in the hall outside my bedroom. I know, I know, it must be the freakish, dramatic, imagination of a 13-year-old, right? Maybe.... and yet? To this day, I can recall each incident with startling clarity - and the memories still evoke the same immobilized and thrilled terror that they did over 40 years ago. Brrrrrr.....:)
BreeS

New York, NY

#8 Oct 8, 2013
I lived on Adams in a big white house on the water. I believe my grandparents bought the house when they got married. My dad, uncles, aunt and I all grew up in this house. This house once belonged to the purple gang and the house next door actually had a tunnel going to Canada. I know that when I was younger I would hear laughter, screaming, and what sounded like people running, but I would be home by myself or everyone was sleeping. Most of the noise came from the 3rd floor which was what we used as an attic. Some of the noise would come from the boat house wich was attached to the porch on the water side. If you go to belle isle go to the museum, you will see our old house.
Kat

Salem, OR

#9 Oct 13, 2013
I live in Gibraltar now and I'm trying to find information about the history of the houses on Adams. What was the cross street of your house?
BreeS wrote:
I lived on Adams in a big white house on the water. I believe my grandparents bought the house when they got married. My dad, uncles, aunt and I all grew up in this house. This house once belonged to the purple gang and the house next door actually had a tunnel going to Canada. I know that when I was younger I would hear laughter, screaming, and what sounded like people running, but I would be home by myself or everyone was sleeping. Most of the noise came from the 3rd floor which was what we used as an attic. Some of the noise would come from the boat house wich was attached to the porch on the water side. If you go to belle isle go to the museum, you will see our old house.
daniel szabo

Huntersville, NC

#10 Dec 19, 2014
my uncle owned the house for a little while it was true tunnels and folding starir cases it was huge but it was true about the house and the tunnels and the 5 car grage and everything from a gate house

Tell me when this thread is updated:

Subscribe Now Add to my Tracker

Add your comments below

Characters left: 4000

Please note by submitting this form you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator. Send us your feedback.

River Rouge Discussions

Title Updated Last By Comments
Black Racism Protected in Detroit 5 hr FactFinder 1
Arm the teachers 6 hr Arm the teachers 1
News The 25 Most Dangerous Cities in the U.S. Are Mo... (Nov '10) 10 hr Fitius T Bluster 21,436
News Mercedes set to pull out of '19 Detroit auto show Thu ThomasA 2
ghetto people are stupid (Jan '13) Feb 15 CrazoGenePool 30
Why do white people love molesting children so ... (Feb '13) Feb 15 CrazoGenePool 27
News Antonio's to reopen former Italian restaurant i... (Jun '13) Feb 14 thejingler 25

River Rouge Jobs

More from around the web

Personal Finance

River Rouge Mortgages