Thursday, July 28, 2016

We walk into American history

On Tuesday, Mindy and I were walking the Freedom Trail in Boston, MA. We noticed a sign in Faneuil Hall that a National Park Ranger would be giving a talk about alcohol in colonial days. We were hot and tired and happy to have a reason to sit.

Thanks nice lady from Italy for taking our picture
For what it’s worth, you should know that we didn’t have anything handy for taking notes. Ranger Chelsey gave a very well researched and interesting talk, but these “facts” might not be exactly what she said. If you want to research them, knock yourself out, then get back to us. We’ll be happy to learn what I misremembered.

  1. Though his name is on the bottles, Samuel Adams did not found the famous brewery. That’s not even his face, it’s kind of a mix of his face and Paul Revere’s. Apparently, Sam took a shot at the brewing biz and quickly flopped.
  2. During Colonial Times, the average person drank 9 gallons of hard liquor a year. Today the average is 3 gallons. (Mindy was trying to remember if the number was 90 gallons. This is why we strongly urge you to look up these “facts” for yourself before you include them in your thesis.)
  3. Tavern culture was a vital part of colonial life. Taverns were also often post offices and court houses. We heard that an early tavern was given its permit only because it was located next door to a church ... apparently taverns had to be located near a church or a school.
  4. In 1733, the British government passed the Molasses Act, which was really a tax on rum (because molasses was necessary to the production of rum). The law was largely ignored, so the Sugar Act of 1764 was passed. This tax cultivated unrest that continued to grow with the passage of the Stamp Act and the Tea Tax.
  5. It was rumored but never confirmed that the Boston Tea Party was plotted at the Green Dragon Tavern. There are no minutes of a rebel board meeting at the place extant, but there are records proving that the Dragon was closed that night.

As tea was more popular with the ladies during colonial times, while rum was more a man’s drink, one can’t help but wonder if there had been a “Boston Rum Party” if the product would have disappeared rather than being thrown into the harbor.

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