Traverse City Record-Eagle

Food

February 27, 2014

Last dry town in Conn. reconsiders Prohibition

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The last dry town in Connecticut is considering whether to give up on Prohibition.

Bridgewater, an affluent bedroom community of 1,700 people tucked into the hills of western Connecticut, may have more at stake in a referendum than bragging rights: The town’s average age has risen above 50 and the state is threatening to close the only school.

First Selectman Curtis Read says restaurants that serve alcohol could provide a much-needed boost.

“It would tend to enliven the town,” Read said.

Repeal has become the hottest issue in Bridgewater, with dozens attending a November town meeting on the issue. Read said it was clear people were reluctant to “show their cards” and a referendum was chosen in part for privacy, so that voters do not have to reveal opinions to neighbors. The timing of the vote, originally scheduled for Tuesday, now remains to be determined after it was postponed to make sure it complies with decades-old blue laws.

Cynthia Bennett, whose grandmother led an effort to keep Bridgewater dry after Prohibition ended in 1933, said she believes many fellow longtime residents will join her in voting against alcohol sales.

“I feel people moved here because Bridgewater is the way it is and I’d like to keep it that way,” said Bennett, 55. “I’m not saying you don’t, say, have a game of horseshoes and have a beer. There’s plenty of it in Bridgewater.”

Bridgewater has taken up the issue for the first time since 1930s because two developers proposed opening restaurants, as long as they could serve alcohol. Some residents have bars in their garages but the town, which is home to actress Mia Farrow and a large weekend population of people from New York City, currently does not have a restaurant aside from a village store with a delicatessen.

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