I AM WHAT you call an “urban archaeologist”: someone who searches for items of historical significance at estate sales, flea markets, swap meets and garage sales.
I tend to focus my efforts on local history, which is what led to my book, “Seattle Prohibition: Bootleggers, Rumrunners & Graft in the Queen City.” It all began several years ago, while scavenging through a musty Seattle basement and discovering an old copper moonshining still. Digging further, I found a trove of old documents, which revealed that the original owner of the still had been sent to jail for supplying the local neighborhood with illegal booze. I was instantly intrigued, and thus began my obsession with this fascinating period of Pacific Northwest history.
After this exciting discovery, I focused on anything related to Prohibition and, over the years, found a variety of such artifacts, ranging from old photographs to an actual federal search warrant from 1928. I read every book I could find on the subject and, at some point, realized there was a much bigger story that had not yet been told.
What I therefore set out to do in my book is tell the complete story of what happened here during that era, in all its fascinating glory, including how all the people, places and events were interconnected. It’s a captivating story, that, at times, almost seems like something from a Hollywood movie. (It also should be pointed out that many of the Prohibition-related items I have found over the years also appear in the book, including many rare artifacts and never-seen-before photographs.)