Old Fashioned Assembly Of God Church In The Sacramento Area California’s Last Dry Town

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California’s Last Dry Town

The coastal city prided itself on alcohol prohibition. The town was originally founded as a religious retreat for Methodists who wanted to get closer to God by living and worshiping in the beautiful forest He had created.

At the Howard Street Methodist Episcopal Church in San Francisco on June 1, 1875, a group of people held the first meeting of the Pacific Grove Restoration Association.

Among the main concerns of the group was the sale of intoxicants. The blue laws, often referred to as the “Founding Fathers’ Rules”, dealt with a number of different issues.

These include such things as behavior that will be excused, delivering luggage on Sundays, staying past 10:30pm, smoking on platforms or near public buildings, cursing, and walking in a bathing suit. .

The provisions regarding alcohol were particularly strict.

Even those who bought the property had to agree to a clause in the lease that prohibited the sale of liquor on the property. This clause also prohibits gambling on such properties.

The city became known as “Chautauqua-by-the-Sea”, a community of culture and learning. The first camp meeting of the Pacific Coast branch of the Chautauqua Literary and Science Circle was held in 1879.

The event was founded after the Methodist Sunday school teacher training camp in 1874 in Chautauqua Lake, NY Pacific Grove built Chautauqua Hall in 1881, which became known as the Old Chapel or Meeting Hall.

Speakers were said to have come from all over the world to lecture at the famous cultural center in the west. At the end of each season, the town held a “Feast of Lanterns,” meaning the closure of each Chautauqua until the following summer.

In November 1879, after the summer campers had returned home, Robert Louis Stevenson visited the desert camp: “I have never been in such a dreamy place. In fact, it is not so much like a desert town as a scene. nobody on the stage and on the boxes in daylight.”

It wasn’t until 1927 that Pacific Grove Retreat decided to become a legitimate town.

Pacific Grove residents soon learned that the city’s strict control over alcohol sales was hurting them financially.

Tourists were visitors to the Monterey Bay area, and their dollars were important, as far as Pacific Grove.

But many tourists, unable to relax with a glass of wine at dinner, simply drive to neighboring towns outside the dry zone, such as Monterey, Watsonville or Santa Cruz for dinner.

Soon, tourists began staying in hotels in towns that allowed alcohol sales, reducing the need to drive back to Pacific Grove after dinner.

It didn’t take long for the city fathers of Pacific Grove to realize that they were paying for the surrounding communities because of the alcohol ban. Residents began holding meetings to discuss the need to legalize alcohol.

Strong campaigns have emerged to repeal the “no alcohol” law. The merchants felt that they were at a great disadvantage with their neighboring communities, especially Monterey, which was their main competitor.

The Monterey Herald reported, “There are no bars, liquor stores, or cocktail lounges in Pacific Grove, and there probably never will be. The original liquor bans were designed for a town whose lips never touched liquor.”

Leading the fight to keep Pacific Grove dry was Mrs. Elmarie Dyke, who moved to Pacific Grove with her family in 1909.

Mrs. Dyke graduated from Pacific Grove High School, and later became a school teacher in the city schools. She also staged and produced Fenan Festival from 1963 to 1980.

Her strong determination wasn’t enough to keep alcohol away from Pacific Grove.

Pacific Grove Mayor Bob Quinn noted at a meeting that Pacific Grove residents do not drink less than their neighbors. There were as many liquor bottles in the trash in Pacific Grove, but people couldn’t buy them there.

Finally, in 1968, the City of Pacific Grove decided to vote on whether to repeal laws prohibiting alcohol. The measure passed easily with a vote of 3383 to 2269.

Even today, the consumption of alcohol in public places in Pacific Grove is restricted to sit-down restaurants where food is served.

Liquor can be purchased, however, at a limited number of closely monitored package stores.

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