The Famous Letterly Saloon

In the late 1800's the movement was roaring in which to bring down all alcohol selling establishments for the prohibition movement. Although the 18th amendment was enacted back in the 1920, people still had the power to get rid of alcohol distribution within their own state. Just imagine what Medina had been like in those times, everyone was on horseback, old fashioned saloons, just about everything would have looked like an old western. These leagues which consisted of anti-alcohol sellers, were destroying these towns by taking the saloons away along with peoples jobs and replacing them with alternative businesses.The one business that had still been standing in Medina still selling alcohol at this time was the Letterly saloon owned by Christina Letterly. Also known as Francesca Letterly, she changed to her middle name Christina in the census records. Christina had a problem because the Women's Temperance League was a large part of the anti -alcohol movement and they were ready to take down Christina's business. The League justified the destruction of the business due to the attitudes people had after consuming alcohol and the violent behavior that followed. The Letterly building had stayed afloat quite well until about 1874, the League came to the front stoop of the Letterly saloon and demanded that she stop selling her alcohol. She agreed to stop if the rest would, and if she was reimbursed for all the alcohol she owned. Now being the owner of a saloon, one can imagine how much alcohol would be in a building like that. The League began to raise money and also make stops to the Letterly saloon to make a scene in order to convince others to get rid of the saloon. The social and economic aspects of this period pointed to show that alcohol was a big seller but also that many were trying to take it down. The decision was hard to make which enabled states to choose for themselves on whether to close all alcohol distribution centers or to allow them to stay open. So the political, social, and economic characteristics were making it hard to determine whether Letterly would still be selling alcohol. In the end, the League reimbursed her for all of her alcohol then poured it down the street gutters and the saloon was converted into a restaurant. Later on the store was converted into the bridal boutique that most Medina citizens know today. Almost nobody knows that once that store was protested against and mass amounts of alcohol were poured out right in front of the store. So next time you walk by the Bridal Boutique store, look around and put yourself in the time period of the old west and Christina Letterly.

Images

That Building Looks Familiar

That Building Looks Familiar

This building is right next to the square in Medina, known as the bridal boutique store. This building housed Christina Letterly's saloon. Just imagine people crowded around the outside protesting to get rid of the distribution of alcohol. The alcohol sold here will later be poured down the streets at this spot. Image courtesy of http://241southcourtstreet.wikispaces.com/Mrs.+Letterly's+Saloon+-+1874 View File Details Page

WOW That Is Old

WOW That Is Old

This is the building block that had been placed in the Letterly saloon to represent the reconstruction of the building after the famous Medina fire. A local historian in Medina revealed that the Letterly saloon had been in here before this date was placed on the building. Image courtesy of http://241southcourtstreet.wikispaces.com/In+the+Beginning+-+circa+1879 View File Details Page

An Important Day

An Important Day

Decoration day was the day that people celebrated the day that Letterly shut down but they went to her saloon which was now a restaurant and bought meals instead of drinks. This is a picture of soldiers on decoration day followed by many. This is just an example of what decoration day looks like in this early time period. THIS IS NOT MEDINA only an example of decoration day in the time period. Now this is in a larger city than Medina but to get the gist of what Decoration day looked like, this picture shows it all. Image courtesy of http://www.nycvintageimages.com View File Details Page

The Cooley Fountain

The Cooley Fountain

Lathrop Cooley was a man so attached to his drinking he eventually quit and gave money to the Womens Temperance League, he gave so much towards the cause this fountain was given in honor of him on the square to represent purity. Image courtesy of http://elfritze.blogspot.com View File Details Page

The Square

The Square

The square has been home to many different businesses within many years. Mrs. Letterlys saloon sat in this widely visited area, the bricks and memory of her building will never fade away. Image courtesy of http://csudigitalhumanities.org View File Details Page

The Disease of Alcohol

The Disease of Alcohol

According to a long time resident who remembers the Prohibition Era, it was a time of secrecy. As a middle-aged woman living through the Great Depression, she remembered quite a bit about the prohibition era. She spoke of a time where people would go up into the mountains and to the mills that were there in order to get alcohol, or "hootch" they used to call it. People would come back from the mountains with big jars of moonshine. Image Courtesy of the Library of Congress View File Details Page

Audio

Brendon talking about Prohibition

Talks about how the 18th amendment took away alcohol but people still drank. People that drank even paid off cops, city officials, and members of temperance leagues large amounts of money to not turn them in. The 21st amendment was then passed and saloons opened back up but NOT the Letterly saloon because Letterly had died before the 21st amendment was passed. View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Brendon M. McLellan , “The Famous Letterly Saloon ,” Discover Medina, accessed July 21, 2017, http://discovermedina.org/items/show/57.
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