Friday, July 3, 2015

Governor sends troops into Rankin County

The Jackson Daily News reported on June 23 that the Governor sent 150 guardsmen into the Gold Coast of Rankin County armed with axes and guns to destroy illegal booze and gambling machines.  The newspaper reported that "the finest of whiskies stood in puddles on the ground" after the raid.  The daylight raid caught the nightclubs by surprise as they had no time to hide their illegal wares.  The troops destroyed over $100,000 in merchandise.*

The Gold Coast of Rankin County was a playground of booze, music, gambling, and at times fine dining for forty years until Mississippi became a wet state in 1966.  The area commonly known as the Gold Coast was where Casey Lane and Fanin Road traversed by the Pearl River.  Go downtown in Jackson, cross over the river at the Woodrow Wilson bridge (by WLBT) and presto, a visitor would see numerous juke joints, gambling dens, nice restaurants, and hotels- all serving illegal whiskey.  It was people wish Farish Street could be but there were no government grants, loans, or TIF bonds to sell- just the profit motive of selling what everyone wanted.

The forces of good were of course distressed by the thought of people carousin' and doing other nefarious things so they would make a bunch of noise, stomp their feet, sermonize on Sundays, and tell their Sheriffs and Governors to shut down the Gold Coast but oddly enough, no one could even seem to put the Gold Coast permanently out of business.   What killed the Gold Coast was..... legalization.  Once alcohol became legal by the drink and bottle, the profit motive disappeared and the Gold Coast was no more.  Here are is one story from the 1939 edition of the Jackson Daily News announcing a raid on the Gold Coast. 









*$100,000 in 1939 would be worth $1.677 million in 2015.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Prohibition works!

Sincerely,

RMN

Anonymous said...

Freedom, liberty, independence,

Anonymous said...

Apparently in 1939 someone failed to pay off someone sufficiently, but a momentary failure of the then existing "system". I'm sure the Gold Coast and its customers paid plenty of state liquor taxes year by year.

Funny all this happened in Rankin County.

Thank heaven the hypocritical power structure of the day has been thoroughly dismantled.

Anonymous said...

"Axe and ye shall receive"

Anonymous said...

I remember going to a bootlegger with my father. He would drive behind a wooden fence and someone would come to the car and take his order and money, then they would go inside and come back to the car with his order. Wasn't long after that a liquor store opened in Meadowbrook Shopping Center. We then walked to the liquor store and I waited outside while he went in and made his purchase, then we walked home together. Damn, I miss my father.

Anonymous said...

Hell in a handbasket when they make drinking legal in Mississippi. those lefties and their booze...

Anonymous said...

12:15 -- You are entirely correct. This was just across the old Pearl River bridge. When liquor became legal there were huge penalties including not being able to secure a legal license if you were caught with hootch. So, when that night came and the clock ticked toward midnight you could drive your car behind that fence and they would load cases of the stuff -- free -- just to get rid of it. You didn't get a choice, just whatever they could grab. Man, that Old Taylor and Old Charter was good!

Anonymous said...

I had NEVER heard of the "Gold Coast". But I've lived around Jackson since '77, and always sensed SOMETHING exciting about that little cluster of buildings just across the river, via that old bridge. There had to be a good story about that place. But nobody I knew could tell me anything beyond vague descriptions of it being "rough".

I just figured it was where fences received goods stolen from Jackson. And in the earliest days of Jackson, I was sure this was where white slaves swam the river, and disappeared into the swamps, to eventually populate Rankin County with all those beautiful blond people who live over there.

And, being from a family who owned lumber mills, I imagined this was where the loggers lived/camped, who would have harvested magnificent cypress trees. Those swamp cypress would have been turned into the lumber/millwork from which the first few generations of Jackson mansions were built (the town burned several times, during the Civil War). My Grandfather's suppliers of logs ran out of cypress in the late 1960s. But I'm sure that the swamps across from Jackson were thoroughly depleted of virgin cypress by the late EIGHTEEN Sixties.

You never knew what you'd see, over there. Once, I spotted, half-buried in landfill, the mangled remains of a Rolls Royce Silver Shadow. Turns out, it was the car involved in an infamous Hinds County episode, involving a powerful lawman, that lawman's son, a pickup-truck full of good-ol'-boys with baseball bats and sledgehammers, and a steel heiress' gigolo. (And who says there's nothin' to do in Jackson?)

But anyone who thinks the "old power structure has been dismantled", does not know much about Rankin County. Consider the "Eminent Domain" theft of the last stand of virgin Rankin County forest (which was appealed to the highest levels in Washington, but mysteriously was "appropriated" ANYWAY - somebody wanted to harvest that lumber without paying for it: virgin forest preserve be damned). Those same families are still there, and while they might not be bootlegging anymore, they haven't changed a whole lot. Except now, they have cousins with law degrees, and connections in Washington.

Still, I'm amazed to hear of the 'Gold Coast'! That's a much more colorful and substantial history than I could ever have guessed. Thanks, Kingfish!

Anonymous said...

@7:06
You've never heard of the Gold Coast?
Wow - lol. I guess you have to be around a certain breed of 'good ole boys' to know about it.
There is a lot of history around here that's covered up by whispers.
There are plenty of unrecognized Indian mounds too. If you see a hill where it probably shouldn't be ( not along a bluff- especially the lowess- just sticking out of nowhere, then you have your suspect)
Yes, the colliesuem is on top of an extinct volcano.
The UMMC graves were whispers until UMMC tried to dig them up. You can't tell any one about the true history of this place without being bombarded with citations of 'facts'. And then they find it out for themselves the hard way.
The Yankees burned most of Jackson besides city hall.
The only conclusion that I can come to is that there is a lot of history around here either covered up on purpose or for political reasons.
If you try to find records- good luck! They were either burned, lost, or never kept.
There are many historical treasures around all of Misssissippi just waiting to be discovered. That's what makes the place so interesting.
You can find adventure here, but it's not neatly packaged for a regular consumer. And that, is what makes it so darned interesting.
And yes, we DO have black panthers here. The ones in the woods, not the political group. You're living in a semi subtropical environment.

Anonymous said...

In 1939, a new Cadillac Sixty Special cost $2,090.00 (a Rolls Touring Car was around $2,700.00, which is to say that Cadillacs, in '39 were hugely expensive cars). So, the booze smashed on just that one night was worth the equivalent of fifty brand-new Cadillacs.

Considering that MOST of the inventory was probably hidden (the article on Durant makes it clear that the booze was routinely kept hidden, because raids were inevitable), and thus survived the raid, I'm wondering just how vast was the scale of "Gold Coast" operations. Those agents probably only destroyed a week's worth of inventory, at most.

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Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

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If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

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