The north side of Portland, Oregon, in the late 1800s was the scene of a violent, raucous waterfront, where illicit cargoes from Asia were offloaded, drunken sailors “shanghaied,” the brothels were always busy, and dark opium dens offered escape from the burdens of life. The profits from all these vices—including the smuggling of illegal immigrants from China—flowed to the elegant south side of town.
Were 70 jugs of dark liquid discovered in a storeroom of an abandoned Saint Paul hospital startling evidence of an ingenious Prohibition-era scheme? Clues lead to a small cosmetics company accused of bootlegging cheap alcohol-based fragrances into drinkable booze. Their guilt or innocence was never proven. Do the 70 jugs of cheap perfume offer a clue to a Prohibition-era mystery?