# Text Block (186) | Prohibition Era by Sofia Pereira Azevedo

In October, 1931, hunters alerted the Patterson Fire Department of a fire in a house located near Towners. Firemen found the house to be unoccupied, but discovered an illegal beer brewery. Putnam County Sheriff Newcomb was notified, and he launched an investigation. Federal authorities were notified because alcohol possession was a Federal offense. Federal agents arrived and immediately destroyed the beer making equipment, leaving the strong odor of hops and malt in the air. It was estimated that the operation could have produced 500 gallons of beer per day, and had the equipment to bottle it. 300 gallons of beer was found in barrels. Sheriff Newcomb interviewed neighbors, who reported that there was frequent automobile traffic to and from the house. It was assumed that the car trips were moving supplies into the house and beer out of the house. The owner of the house, Mrs. Lillian F. Lloyd, was discovered to be vacationing in California, and she had been renting to the presumed brewers, unaware of their plans for her home. The fire was believed to have been ignited by a burning cigarette butt, and caused hundreds of dollars in damage. The brewery operators were not found.

In March, 1932, 60 Federal "dry agents" raided fifteen restaurants, inns, stores, and private homes located throughout Putnam County, including Patterson, Putnam Valley, Kent, Carmel, and Philipstown. The Putnam County Courier, quoting the New York Times, noted that "women turned out by the hundreds and cheered" as the agents removed truckloads of liquor, including thousands of bottles of beer, hundreds of jugs whiskey and wine, and dozens of barrels of cider. Twenty men were arrested.

Not only was Prohibition causing the loss of significant tax revenues for all levels of government, but enforcement was proving to be very expensive. In April, 1932, Putnam County District Attorney Alvin D. Pond submitted a bill for $655 to the County Board of Supervisors. This bill was part of a$2,200 bill from Hutchins Bureau of Investigation, a private detective agency that had investigated illegal alcohol operations for the District Attorney. The Board balked at the charges, and Hutchins was informed that the bill would not be paid because no money had been budgeted for it.