Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Saloons, Tippling Houses and Disorderly Places - Oh My!

At the time of Monrovia’s incorporation in 1887, it was of particular importance to the city founders that an ordinance be established to outlaw the sale and consumption of intoxicating liquors. Ordinance No. 4, therefore, prohibited saloons, “tippling houses,” and other disorderly places. A saloon, however, was already in operation on Myrtle Avenue, so Deputy City Marshal Oglesby and several members of the city council decided to take matters into their own hands. As a group, they entered the saloon, and each requested a different alcoholic beverage – whiskey, wine, or beer. The saloon keeper served their drinks, and after the men had the opportunity to sample them and confirm that these were, indeed, intoxicating liquors, the Deputy City Marshal, a native of Texas, made the announcement, “We-all have incorporated and we-all don’t want you here. This place is closed – now.”

Of course, although this first saloon was closed down, Ordinance No. 4 did not prevail over the long term. Myrtle Avenue now boasts a bustling nightlife with multiple establishments that serve alcoholic beverages. What would our city founders have to say about that?

Source: John L. Wiley, History of Monrovia (Pasadena: Press of Pasadena Star-News, 1927), p. 65.