Brown Bag/Local Lore Talk ~ Prohibition

Almost every tour of the Ellwood mansion takes the same path: follow the servants’ staircase to the basement level, walk through the kitchen, pass the built-in icebox, and exit the servants’ dining room. Turn the corner and you’ll find yourself at the end of a short hallway next to a small, unassuming door, painted white to match the walls.

Open the door today and you’ll find bottles of various sizes, filled with clear or colored liquid, or crystallized remnants of evaporation. According to a member of the Ellwood family, the room was used by Perry Ellwood as a cellar to store spirits during Prohibition: the 13-year-long period (1920-1933) when alcohol was banned in the United States.

On Thursday, February 6, Audrey King, Curator of Education and Interpretation, will give a free lecture titled “Beyond the Cellar Door: Prohibition at the Ellwood House.” The talk will explore the history of Prohibition through the cellar’s contents, from bottle design to how drinkers procured alcohol during the era, and more.

King’s talk is presented in conjunction with the museum’s April 25th event: “Against the Grain: A Speakeasy Challenge,” a ticketed program commemorating Prohibition’s centennial, and will include a preview of the event.

“Beyond the Cellar Door” is the first 2020 lecture as part of Brown Bag Lunch/Local Lore, the museum’s free adult lecture series offered in collaboration with the DeKalb County History Center. The one-hour program will take place at noon in the Ellwood House Museum’s Visitor Center. Participants are welcome to bring their own lunch, and coffee and cookies will be provided.



Feb 06 2020


12:00 pm - 1:00 pm


Free/Donations welcome


Ellwood House Visitor Center