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The Wartime Prohibition Act took effect on June 30, 1919. Patterson joined the rest of the nation in banning beverages with an alcohol content greater than 2.75%. The day before the ban went into effect, Putnam County adopted a party atmosphere as people traveled to "wet" areas to enjoy their last night of drinking. Hotels were filled to capacity, and local bars and restaurants needed extra help to service the crowds. Packed automobiles wandered County roads in search of an establishment still serving alcohol. Bars and restaurants expected to remain open after the ban went into effect, serving "light" or non-alcoholic beverages. The Putnam County Sheriff did not expect to make any arrests after the ban took effect, citing a lack of guidance from Washington on how to interpret the Act. He noted that alcohol sales were still permitted under State law, and would not pay much attention to the new Federal law. Local law enforcement agencies awaited a test prosecution case for guidance. It was generally conceded that hard alcohol was illegal, but the alcoholic content of beer was a gray area. The 18th Amendment would take effect in January, 1920, and outlaw all alcoholic beverages.

By the start of the 1930s, sentiment for the reversal of the alcohol ban was beginning to be voiced. Alcohol sales had created jobs and generated significant tax revenues. And it was not much of a secret that the number of illegal "speakeasies" serving alcohol far outnumbered the number of restaurants and bars that had previously sold alcoholic beverages legally before the ban began in 1920. In October, 1930, Long time Putnam Congressman Hamilton Fish, Jr. favored modification of the liquor ban to allow "the poor classes to obtain beer for home consumption and not rehabilitate the saloon."