The Noble Failure:
Prohibition in the Champlain Valley

The nationwide ban on the sale and consumption of alcohol known as Prohibition extended from 1919-1933. But residents of the Champlain Valley have been negotiating the relationships between what we drink, who can drink it, and who regulates it since the early 1800s.

In fact, Vermont holds the record for the longest continuous statewide prohibitory law, which was in effect from 1853-1903. Echoes of the debate between government regulations and personal choices that started with the temperance movement continue to play out in society today.

Raise a glass to our complex history as we explore prohibition in the Champlain Valley.

Explore this online exhibit by clicking the Next buttons at the the end of each section, or by using the exhibit navigation menu on the left to jump to a specific section (If you are on a tablet or mobile device, the exhibit navigation menu will be at the bottom of the page).

Image: A young woman drinks straight from the bottle, photographed by Everett Vaile. Courtesy Vermont Historical Society.

This exhibition is made possible with generous support and partnership from:

Lake Champlain Basin Program

Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership

Vermont Folklife Center

See this exhibit in person! The Noble Failure: Prohibition in the Champlain Valley is currently open at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. Plan your visit today!

Lake Champlain Maritime Museum recognizes the seriousness of substance use disorder and that the information presented in this exhibit may be triggering for some visitors. If you or anyone you know needs help, please contact these local, state, and national resources:

  • Turning Point Center of Addison County: (802) 388-4249.
  • Counseling Service of Addison County (CSAC): (802)-388-6751.
  • Dial Vermont 211 on any phone to speak with an Information and Referral professional
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255.