For the first time since 1856 prohibition became the law of the land in part of Delaware, following one of the most exciting elections the State had ever seen at that time. A question had been put before the voters, asking them to decide whether licenses would be granted to outlets to serve alcohol. For the license or no license (prohibition) question, the state had been divided into four districts, the three counties and Wilmington.
Each side was sure it was going to win the “local option” decision, but the dry vote carried the day in Kent and Sussex counties. Thus the governor ordered all hotels, saloons and distilleries to stop the sale and manufacture of liquor. Forty saloons and hotels and twelve distillers were affected. In Wilmington and New Castle County a majority for license was cast, so the booze flowed there.
In the days leading up to the vote, Principal Cross of the Wilmington Conference Academy (WCA) “mustered up enough courage to head the procession of students,” having them parade all over Dover to oppose the saloon, hotel and distillery men, The Wilmington Sunday Star reported. The postcard below shows the W.C.A. marching.
On Thursday the principal wanted to head for Wilmington, but a heavy rain was falling on Dover. So he called for a hack from the Hotel Richardson to take him to the railroad station. The Hotel Richardson sent back word that the principal should walk. “You walked on election day.”
Enforcement in the dry, local option areas of the State was another matter, of course.