One hundred years ago next week – on Jan. 17, 1920 – the taps were wrenched closed on legal alcohol sales and manufacture across America. That’s the day the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution went into effect, establishing Prohibition and closing 286 distilleries, 992 breweries, and more than 300,000 saloons across America.

It was the Anti-Saloon League of America, based in Westerville, that muscled the legislation through to passage. Its presses in Westerville were the War Machine of Prohibition, convincing a nation to vote itself Dry. From 1910 to 1930, enough newsprint to circle the earth 80 times poured from Westerville, plus another 300 million copies of pamphlets, posters, fliers, books and other publications.

War MachineA new coffee table book to commemorate the 100-year anniversary will be released Jan. 17, marking the incredible role of tiny Westerville — then known as the Dry Capital of the World — in this tumultuous history. Westerville: The War Machine of Prohibition is a project of Uptown Westerville Inc., with major support from The Westerville Fund.

Westerville: The War Machine of Prohibition is written and curated by local journalist and Rotary Club of Westerville member Joe Meyer, with content contributions from the Westerville Historical Society, the Westerville History Center & Museum, and Otterbein University.

Meyer will preview the soon-to-be-released book for Club members as our luncheon program Jan. 9 at Villa Milano. and detail how he chronicled this fascinating, rich local history.

Find more information on release of the new coffee table book at

Find out more about Upcoming Rotary Club of Westerville programs in our Events Calendar and our Events Blog.