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And the West is History: Refrigerator Car Loaded for Leadville – Ca. 1916

Although the National Prohibition Act went into effect in 1920, Colorado had already become a “dry” state in January 1916 because of the passage of a state amendment in 1914 forbidding the “manufacture for sale or gift … of any intoxicating liquor.” This hit distillers, brewers and sellers hard, especially in the mining districts throughout the state. Miners had been well known for their inclination to drink. No seller was harder hit than Durango’s John Kellenberger. A very successful wholesaler of liquor and cigars, he was forced to change his business model in 1916 and began making a nonalcoholic (or at least advertised as nonalcoholic) Raspberry Julep. Very popular before and after Prohibition, he exported it throughout Colorado and surrounding states. He eventually became Durango’s first Coca-Cola bottler and from every indication was successful in his efforts. He was, however, once caught trying to ship a train car of liquor from “wet” New Mexico to Telluride, though the shipping manifest listed the contents as “hay.” He is presumed to be the man in the center of this photo taken at the Durango Denver & Rio Grande Railroad’s freight depot. – Ed Horvat for Animas Museum, edhorvat@animasmuseum.org (Catalog Number: 99.06.28 from the La Plata County Historical Society Photo Collections)