In the early 1900s, what did it mean for cities to be "dry"?
A "dry" city or county is a community where alcohol cannot be legally sold.
A "dry" city or county is a community where alcohol cannot be legally sold. The Temperance movement of the late 1800s and early 1900s fought for and won the passage of the 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution (Prohibition of Intoxicating Liquors) in 1919 and went into effect the next year.
The 21st Amendment passed in 1933 repealed the 18th Amendment. Some states still maintained Temperance law ans remained "dry"
Even today there are some jurisdictions at the county and local level where it is illegal to sell "intoxicating liquors".
The period between 1920 and 1933 was known as "Prohibition". This period saw a huge escalation in crime as illegal syndicates smuggled in alcohol from countries where alcohol could still be made and sold. In addition to smuggling in alcohol these crime syndicates also ran illegal bars called speakeasies.
When Prohibition ended at a national level many of this crime syndicates had become so wealthy the continue to conduct other types of illegal activities.