Thursday, January 17, 2008

A Few Toasts In Honor of Neal S. Dow

Here at Riverbank Republic headquarters, we don't usually require a reason to imbibe. However, we'll be drinking with purpose this Friday night when we (casually and haphazardly) organize the first annual Neal Dow Pub Crawl in Westbrook.

Though Neal S. Dow served as an officer in the U.S. Civil War and was the Mayor of Portland in 1851, he is most well-known today for his leadership of the temperance movement in Maine and the United States in the mid-nineteenth century.

A founding member of the Maine Temperance Society in 1827, Dow was instrumental in the passage of the Maine Law, which made Maine the first state in America to prohibit the manufacture, sale, and consumption of alcohol. Of course, the United States as a whole later followed suit when the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified on January 16, 1919, thus making alcohol illegal throughout the country. Hence Dow's nickname as the "Father of the Prohibition."

Which leads us back to the first annual Neal Dow Pub Crawl.

On the one hand, it does seem paradoxical to honor Neal Dow with a few toasts of adult beverages during the anniversary week of the constitutional amendment that realized the severe prohibitionist's lifelong goal of national prohibition. On the other hand, it is merely a classy way to honor our dry foe for his noble efforts. After all, the Eighteenth Amendment was later superceded by the 1933 passage of the Twenty-first Amendment, which repealed prohibition (true fact: The Twenty-first Amendment is the only amendment in the U.S. Constitution ratified explicitly to repeal an earlier constitutional amendment). Besides, it is always easier for the victor to hail the vanquished when the defeated has no chance of ever winning again.

So hailing our vanquished we shall do.

Starting at 7p on Friday, January 18, Riverbankers will be at the Mill Side Tavern on Main Street. After about an hour at Mill Side, we'll go to Stockhouse Restaurant for a few more toasts. Then, after about an hour at Stockhouse, we'll cross the Presumpscot and spend an hour at the Skybox Pub on Brown Street. After Skybox, we'll cross the Presumpscot yet again and finish the evening with a nightcap at Profenno's Pub. Got all that? However, depending on circumstances, we may make a pit stop at The Frog and Turtle en route to Profenno's. As I said earlier, the planning for this has been casual and haphazard. Nevertheless, if you have nothing else going on, join us at these fine establishments for drink, friendship, merriment, and of course, to honor the memory of Mr. Neal S. Dow.

Finally, a note of disclosure: The official Pub Crawl will demand some walking and exposure to brisk air (it's not called the Pub Drive for a reason). We aren't anything here at Riverbank Republic if not responsible.

- John C.L. Morgan

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