Newark was once home to many breweries, and by 1900 there were more than 1,200 bars (almost one on every corner). But Newark was also a center of progressive politics which favored restrictions on alcohol consumption. While alcohol was a major source of employment and bars were centers of social life, especially in immigrant neighborhoods, liquor was also seen as a source of many social problems, including violence, crime, and unemployment. Debates over alcohol played out for decades in Newark’s pulpits, courtrooms, and newspapers, culminating in Prohibition and the 18th amendment.

Presented in partnership with: