October 11-17, 2013: This week in Memphis history

Saturday, October 12, 2013, Vol. 6, No. 42

1943: On the front page of The Daily News, Memphis and Shelby County Schools got a $138,780 federal grant to handle the shift of population from rural areas and small towns to areas of the county where war plants were located. The grant brought total funding for the Shelby County Board of Education to more than $1 million.

1923: The Grand Opera House at Main and Beale, built in 1890, was destroyed in a fire that started after a vaudeville show headlined by Blossom Seeley. It stood where the Orpheum Theatre is today.

1913: The Tennessee legislature passed two “force” bills designed to enforce the prohibition law that was to have taken effect starting the previous July. One prohibited the transportation of liquor from one county to another in the state. The second was a “nuisance act” which allowed for a court injunction to close any place that sold liquor, was a gambling house or was a brothel. The bills were proposed by Gov. Ben Hooper and opposed by interests in Memphis who filed suit to delay enforcement of these provisions as well and opposed prohibition in general.

Source: “Mr. Crump of Memphis” by William D. Miller

Meanwhile, the last batch of Goldcrest beer was made at the Tennessee Brewery in Memphis the day before the passage of the force bills. More than 500 workers were laid off.

Source: “Finest Beer You Ever Tasted” by Kenn Flemmons