The 21st amendment to the U.S. Constitution went into effect 79 years ago today, ending the Prohibition era. Utah was the last state needed to reach the necessary three-fourths majority for approving the constitutional amendment.
Few Americans living today can remember the political environment that led to the failed Prohibition experiment. Public water fountains established by local chapters of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union are perhaps the only visible remnants of the temperance movement.
At the 1874 organizing convention of the National Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, the members were urged to erect drinking fountains in their towns so that men could get a drink of water without entering saloons and staying for stronger drinks. Often the drinking fountains that were erected offered a place for horses to drink, another place for dogs, and of course, a place for humans to drink.
Two WCTU fountains remain in Iowa: in Edgewood (Clayton and Delaware Counties) and Shenandoah (Page County). UPDATE: Added a photo of the fountain in Shenandoah below.
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