What’s Up With Moose Jaw, Al?

Don’t point that thing at me. Your goons need to relax. I won’t say anything to anyone. Fuhgeddaboudit. I won’t remember anything.

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I was in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan on the last day of July 2018 and discovered that it was the trail head of the Soo Line Railroad in the days before the 18th Amendment prohibited the manufacturing and sale of alcohol. Underneath, the tunnels of Moose Jaw were the perfect hiding place for Big Al’s booze enterprise and for Chinese railway workers to escape persecution unable to pay the government imposed “head tax”.

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The tunnels were the place to get booze when there was none on the street. And because it was outside the border of the United States, the Feds and IRS couldn’t get to Capone nor stop his enterprise.

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The town became Al’s sanctuary, supported by a corrupt chief of police and the dance-hall girls who provided the town’s late-night entertainment. Booze ran like it was legal and the town flourished in ill repute, increasing in population over 50% during prohibition years.

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Today, it’s just a small town with one main street and several modern restaurants and a few motels. Nothing like it was back in the day. Soon after the 21st Amendment passed the Congress and the President repealed prohibition, the population dropped. Today 33,000 live in Moose Jaw, overshadowed by the close-by capitol of Saskatchewan, Regina.

There are memories though and one of them is a reconstructed tunnel where Al Capone kept an apartment and office and shared his wealth with his buddies, always on the look-out for whoever was out to get him and rather casual in whom he knocked off along the way. Underground were tunnels where he stored his booze and partied.

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For 14 years (between the 18th and 21st Amendments) he got away with it, until he pulled up stakes to live in New Orleans where he died of syphilis. Yes, the IRS eventually caught up with him and sent him to jail. But Moose Jaw still remembers the good times. And you will too if you visit The Tunnels and become part of the story of the infamous Al Capone in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.