November 18, 1900: Superior’s blue laws take Effect

On this day across the bay in 1900, Superior, Wisconsin, put in place so-called “blue laws” restricting certain activities on the Christian sabbath. Streetcars could run and milk deliveries would continue and even restaurants could stay open. But newspapers had to be sold on the street—no news stands could open. Cigars could only be sold in restaurants, as cigar stores had to close. Drug stores could only open to fill prescriptions. And of course, saloons would be closed, along with livery stables (i.e., citizens could not hire a horse). The day before, according to the newspapers, many Superiorites were seen with “suspicious looking packages” and “bottles sticking from their coat pockets.” Cigar stores saw record sales as “it was a complete exemplification of the power of the weed.” Several saloonkeepers were cited with keeping their establishments open, and “two Jews [were] also in trouble,” one because he loaded mattresses onto a truck. C. H. Slocum put a sign on the door of his pharmacy that read, “This store closed by order of police. Pa will go to church for the first time in ten years: and the blow almost killed mother.” A Duluth streetcar conductor estimated that the number of Superiorites traveling to and from Duluth that day were “greater than usual.”

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