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A collection of confiscated stills, next to the County jail – Golden History Museum Collection
Black and white photo of stills, made of metal tanks and wooden barrels

Jefferson County was rife with illegal stills during the Prohibition years. The March 18, 1920 Jefferson County Republican featured an article entitled “AT LAST! GOLDEN IS JUST LIKE OTHER PLACES; HAS STILL.”

Through the efforts of Sheriff Burt Jones and Deputy Gary Kerr Golden can now take place of honor with other cities about the state that can point proudly to the fact that they have men, within their corporate limits that are brave enough to defy the laws of the land as regards what a man shall or shall not make in the way of a thirst quencher.

Excerpt from an 1882 map showing the area behind the Bella Vista hotel (12th & Jackson)
The still was on Eleventh Street, behind the Hotel Bella Vista.

Monday night the two officers raided the W.S. Seeley home, just around the corner from the Bella Vista Hotel, on Eleventh street. The raid did not result in any large capture of bug juice but the works were all there and the number of callers at the place while it had been under observation attested to the fact that a good trade had been enjoyed. About a pint of the home brew was found. A quantity of mash and the coils and other things that go to make up a still were found and Seeley confessed that he had been in the business a little. The outfit was taken in tow by the officers and the facts in the case turned over to the district attorney who has not yet decided just what to do. In the mean time Seeley is allowed his freedom.

Thanks to the Golden History Museum for providing the online cache of historic Transcripts, and to the Golden Transcript for documenting our history since 1866!