Tommy Guns and Bootleg Liquor: Remnants of Prohibition, Found During Renovations

Finding evidence from a crime is pretty scary, but when the crime happened almost a century before, it’s pretty cool. Due to Prohibition, secrecy surrounding the consumption, trafficking, and manufacturing of alcohol was a must. Sometimes, the secret was kept so well that it survived undiscovered and intact decade after decade until an unsuspecting homeowner discovered it behind a wall during a renovation! Here are some of the most amazing stories from homeowners who found Prohibition-era treasures behind their walls!

Tommy Gun Found Behind a Kitchen Wall

87726391Nothing screams “something crazy happened in my house before I lived here” more than finding a Tommy Gun with 400 rounds of ammo behind a wall in your kitchen. Imagine how the homeowner must have felt! While Andrew Mayes, an Illinois resident, was renovating a new house, he stumbled upon the mint-condition gun, which was promptly confiscated by the police after Mayes called to report it. He definitely regrets that decision, because now he wants it back- he’s threatening to sue the police department!



Liquor Hoard Found by Air Conditioning Installer


Image Credit: David Brewster, Star Tribune

Before the Prohibition laws kicked in, there must have been thousands of people falling all over themselves to buy as much alcohol as they could. There was definitely at least one, and he lived in Minnesota. During a central air installation in a Minneapolis home, a worker’s blade hit something hard- and it turned out to be an enormous stash of liquor! There were dozens of bottles of all types of alcohol, including Jamaican rum, cognac, scotch, bitters, and some wines that were way, way past their “drink-by” date and had turned to vinegar. Although the wine was no good, the cognac was not only drinkable, but reportedly quite tasty. All the bottles were bearing tax stamps from 1919- one year before Prohibition. We may never know the true story behind the collection, but it’s definitely fun to wonder about.

McCaleb Construction is an award-winning Tucson remodeling company that prides ourselves on helping people achieve their interior design visions. We specialize in kitchen remodeling, bathroom remodeling, living spaces, exteriors, and more. Give us a call at 520-323-2100 to talk to one of our helpful remodeling experts.

This article is part of our STRANGE THINGS FOUND DURING HOME RENOVATIONS blog series.


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