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February 28 , 2010

Wicked Hamtramck

Lust, Liquor and Lead


Hamtramck’s population bulged to 56,000 from a mere 3,500 in the early twentieth century, a sixteen-fold increase that created the perfect environment for crime and corruption to flourish. Post-Prohibition, bars sprang up in quick order, until there were at least two hundred within this wide-open town’s 2.1 square miles, giving it more bars per capita than any other city in America; even the Dodge brothers served barrels of beer to their workers. Follow local historian Greg Kowalski through the underbelly of Hamtramck, from the “painted women openly flaunting their tainted charms from undraped windows” to the nefarious plots crafted behind the walls of the International Workers Home on Yemens Street. Welcome to the height of Hamtramck’s infamy, where anything could happen—for a price.

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