Get Evanston Wet

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LOCAL 115 SHOP [illegible] [union bug]

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Did you know that the city of Evanston, Illinois was once a dry town? Evanston was incorporated in 1863 as a dry town, meaning the sale of alcohol was prohibited in the city. The alcohol ban was established in the 1850s, before the incorporation of the city, as a result of the efforts of Frances Willard. Not only did Frances Willard hold the title of Dean of of the Women’s College at Northwestern, she was also a founding member of the Women’s Christian Temperance Movement. In the nineteenth century, the temperance movement was viewed as a women’s right issue as the use of alcohol was seen as something that affected the family. The Northwestern founders proposed the “Four Mile Limit" law in 1855, resulting in the prohibition of alcohol in the four miles surrounding the town now known as Evanston. 

However, by the 1970s, many residents were unhappy with the alcohol prohibition as it was negatively affecting the city’s economy. While Evanston citizens were divided on the prohibition issue, the city voted to end the alcohol ban in 1972. This issue led to much disagreement and many discussions between community members. The owner of this button was most likely happy about the city’s decision to lift the ban!


 Fremon, D. K. (1992, April 24). Evanston revisits wet v dry issues at edge of big ’bad Chicago. Evanston revisits wet V dry issues at edge of big ’bad chicago.

Wozniak, A. (2023, May 26). 50 years ago, Evanston became a wet town. The Daily Northwestern.




Catalog ID IB0826