How big was business at the Gold Coast? Big. Big enough to make The Dock at its busiest look literally like a Sunday School picnic. Big enough that the Jackson Chamber of Commerce pulled every string it could with the Governor to shut them down. The 1938 newspapers show raids, arson, shootings, and just plain raucousness as the Gold Coast became the whiskey-fueled hydra of Rankin County. It seemed no matter how many axes and padlocks were used to shut down the clubs of the Gold Coast, the Gold Coast would regroup and become even bigger. The first article is about a traffic jam at the Woodrow Wilson bridge. (Click on images to enlarge.).
It was Saturday night on November 13, 1938. Business was booming on the Gold Coast as the Jackson Daily News reported there were more than 2,000 cars crossing the bridge that night. It took over twenty minutes to cross the bridge.
Police began another crackdown as Jackson police busted a truck full of whiskey meant for the Gold Coast on November 30, 1938. The truck contained over $4,000 in liquor (Over $65,000 in today's dollars.).
However, that bust was small potatoes compared to what Governor White did after the infamous traffic jams of November. The Jackson Chamber of Commerce was mad as hell about the mere existence of the Gold Coast as it estimated over $50,000 ($815,319 in today's dollars) was spent on the Gold Coast every week- Money that it thought should have been spent in Jackson. The Chamber presented petitions containing many signatures to Governor White and demanded action. The December 18, 1938 headline below was the result of the Chamber's strong-arming of the Governor.
The Chamber also called upon employers to tell their employees not to visit the Gold Coast. The Chamber provided forms for employees to sign that stated they would not visit the GOld Coast. It encouraged churches to get their congregations to sign petitions.
The Jackson Daily News reported two days later that the Adjutant General and his National Guard troops toured the Gold Coast to ensure it was there were no dens of sin operating in violation of the Governor's order. The Guardsmen found only "gloomy lightless buildings, bars half torn down, bottles of "chasers" scattered and broken across smooth dance floors" as the previous raid scared away all operators and patrons. Governor White promised to keep raiding the Gold Coast after the Mississippi Supreme Court upheld validity of his earlier raids.
Last but certainly not least was this September 11, 1938 story in the Jackson Daily News about the Godfather of the Bootleggers, Red Hydrick (No relation to Reinhardt). Big Red apparently aspired to be a true Sicilian and allegedly participated in a robbery of the manager of the Peacock, one of his competitors. Another club operated by the owners of the Peackock, the Maple Grove Inn, was also burned to the ground under mysterious circumstances.
Earlier posts about the Gold Coast
Rankin grand jury moves to shut down the Gold Coast
Rankin Sheriff beaten on Gold Coast
Rankin Constable killed in Gold Coast shootout (1946)
Governor sends troops into Rankin County (1939)