Reminder: Bootlegging history topic of Feb. 17 virtual Humanities Washington program

Steve Edmiston

Learn about local bootlegging history and its impacts on Northwest politics and culture during an upcoming free program, “Whiskey and Wiretaps: The Northwest’s Rumrunning King.” The virtual program, set for 1 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 17, is presented by Sno-King School Retirees organization  and Humanities Washington.

The speaker is Steve Edmiston, a member of the 2020-2022 Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau, and a business and entertainment lawyer with Bracepoint Law. He is also an indie film screenwritier and producer, a founder of Quadrant45, and a co-founder of The Good Bootlegger’s Guild. He has spoken locally for the Washington State Historical Museum as well as on the Travel Channel’s Legendary Locations.

Edmiston will tell the story of Seattle bootletter Roy Omstead, who on Thanksgiving Day 1925 was trapped by federal prohibition agents and their Tommy guns on a lonely Puget Sound dock. His reign as the Northwest’s most prolific bootlegger had ended. But big questions—political, cultural and legal—remained

Why did Olmstead, the youngest lieutenant in the Seattle Police Department history, form a secret gang to take over Prohibition bootlegging in the Northwest? What can we learn today from “The Good Bootlegger’s” story of whiskey-driven politics, culture wars, criminalization of popular social behavior, illegal surveillance, spies, sensational trials, and Constitution-bending trips to the Supreme Court?

Using photographs, documents, newspapers and court cases, speaker Steve Edmiston breathes life into Olmstead’s story by exploring historical context, his entrepreneurial brilliance, his code of conduct, and the profound impact of his legal battles today.

Register in advance for this webinar here.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Humanities Washington is a statewide nonprofit whose mission is to spark conversation and critical thinking using story as a catalyst, nurturing thoughtful and engaged communities across the state. Speakers Bureau presenters give free public presentations on history, politics, music, philosophy, spiritual traditions, and everything in between.

  1. I remember my Aunt telling me stories of the “bootleggers” in these early days. This should be an entertaining webinar!

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