Home > Old School Picture of the Week > Sheriff George Gillie’s raid on an Allen County still,
Sheriff George Gillie’s raid on an Allen County still,
Fort Wayne Reader
In the late 1920s and early 1930s a wave of crime and violence struck Fort Wayne unlike anything in the community’s previous history. Bank robberies, shootings, killings, and raids involving the illicit liquor business highlighted the era of lawlessness and banditry. One of the most notorious events in this period was the robbery of the Broadway State Bank on August 20, 1930, by a Chicago gang led by George (Machine Gun) Kelly. The gang pistol whipped the cashier and made off in an automobile with $5,912. All were later arrested, returned to Fort Wayne and convicted by a jury. Judge Sol A. Wood of the Allen Circuit Court gave each of them fifteen-year sentences at the Michigan City Prison.
Bootleggers and speakeasies were common in Allen County during this era. Prosecuting Attorney Walter E. Helmke complained publicly about shifts in personnel on the police squad charged with enforcing prohibition, which made it difficult to convict bootleggers in Allen County. Federal authorities were very active in Allen County in enforcing prohibition and conducted many raids at popular night spots. This photo, of a raid on a still located at a farm on the Leo Road, was taken on January 2, 1929. Gillie stands third from left.
Excerpt from Allen County History Book
Photo courtesy of The History Center/Allen County-Fort Wayne Historical Society
302 East Berry Street, Fort Wayne, IN 46802