Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this collection.
Throwback Tulsa: Oklahomans vote to end Prohibition on this day in 1959

Throwback Tulsa: Oklahomans vote to end Prohibition on this day in 1959

  • 0

"Oklahomans will vote dry as long as they can stagger to the polls," humorist Will Rogers once said.

Following Prohibition, states still had their own liquor laws, and the sale of strong beer, wine and liquor remained illegal in Oklahoma until the state voted its repeal on this day in 1959.

Oklahoma had been officially dry since statehood in 1907. But that hadn't kept anyone from having a cocktail. Liquor was available by free delivery 24 hours a day from bootleggers; cocktails and wine were served at banquets and in clubs, restaurants and hotels.

While Oklahoma wets celebrated the repeal of prohibition, the bootleggers were less happy.

A Dallas bootlegger told a Tulsa World reporter: "Just like that. It happens just like that. After building up my business for years, those damn Oklahomans go to the polls and vote to make me a bankrupt.

"I tell you, it just ain't right," he added.

State laws loosened a bit more in 2018, when voters State Question 792. The law allowed the sale of refrigerated full-strength beer as well as wine beyond solely liquor stores, some of which have struggled since the state question passed on the November 2016 ballot.

Related to this collection

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


Breaking News