Carrie A. Nation Smashes Up the Carey Hotel

Dec 27, 2012 - by - 0 Comments

Nation

Carrie A. Nation

by Michael Thomas Barry

On December 27, 1900, prohibitionist Carry Nation smashes up the bar at the Carey Hotel in Wichita, Kansas, causing several thousand dollars in damage and is arrested. Nation, who was released shortly after the incident, became famous for carrying a hatchet and wrecking saloons as part of her anti-alcohol crusade.

Carry Amelia Moore was born in Kentucky in 1846. As a young woman, she married Charles Gloyd, whose early death from alcohol abuse left Nation alone to support their young child. The experience instilled in Nation a lifelong distaste for alcohol. She later married David Nation, who worked as a preacher and lawyer, and they eventually settled in Kansas. There, she was involved with the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). The WCTU was founded in 1874 by women concerned about the problems alcohol was causing their families and society. At the time, women lacked many of the same rights as men and their lives could be ruined if their husbands drank too much. In addition to alcohol prohibition, over the years the WCTU lobbied for a long list of social reforms. In 1880, Kansas became the first state to adopt a constitutional provision banning the manufacture and sale of alcohol. However, prohibition was enforced unevenly and with many saloon owners ignoring the ban completely, Nation came to believe she needed to abandon the nonviolent methods of the WCTU in order to make an impact. After the incident at the Carey Hotel, her notoriety increased as she continued her saloon-smashing campaign in other locations and traveled extensively to speak out in favor of temperance. She sold souvenir hatchets to help fund her activities and used the name Carry A. Nation. Nation died in 1911, never living to see nationwide prohibition in America, which was established with the 18th Amendment to the Constitution which went into effect on January 16, 1920. Prohibition was considered a failure and was repealed on December 5, 1933, with the 21st Amendment. 

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