The 18th Amendment prohibited the manufacture sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquor within the United States. Ratified in 1919, it became effective on Jan. 26, 1920.
On Dec. 29, 1929, men on duty at the U.S. Coast Guard station in Ocean City noticed some unusual activity on Assateague. A schooner from Halifax, Nova Scotia had anchored offshore and several smaller boats were unloading what turned out to be bottles of booze.
Over 1,500 cases of liquor were seized and arrests were made. The ring leaders were held on $50,000 bonds while 28 local men from Ocean City and Berlin were also arraigned. The liquor was taken to the Coast Guard Station where it was held under armed guard until trucks arrived to carry it to the federal courthouse in Baltimore. All of the bootleggers were fined and some served jail time; it was the largest number of arrests up to that time in Ocean City’s history.
The 21st Amendment repealed Prohibition on Dec. 5, 1933. It had lasted for almost 14 years.
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Photo courtesy the Ocean City Lifesaving Station Museum