|Title||Roy and Elise Olmstead with Roy's mother Sarah at courthouse, Seattle, 1926 |
|Caption||During Seattle's prohibition years in the 1920s, Roy Olmstead became one of the largest and most successful bootleggers in King County. Learning how the trade operated from involvement in raids and arrests while serving as a Seattle Police Lieutenant, Olmstead noted the lack of organization of many bootleggers and began his own operation. After an arrest and dismissal from the Seattle Police Force, he was able to devote all his time to his operations which eventually grew to include many vessels, trucks, warehouses, and employees importing liquor from Canada. Along with his second wife, Elise, Olmstead established the American Radio Telephone Company which they operated from this home in Seattle's Mount Baker neighborhood. It was suspected that the children's bedtime hour was used to relay coded messages to the various rumrunners employed.|
Suspicious of the activities, federal agents employed surveillance techniques and wiretapping to arrest Olmstead, his wife, and nine other men in 1924. After an initial Federal Grand Jury indictment in 1925, the 1926 trial proceedings at the time of this photograph were the largest in the country's history of liquor violations starting out with 47 defendants. In this photograph, Olmstead is shown on the steps of the courthouse with his mother and wife Elise who was acquitted in the trial. Olmstead was convicted and sentenced to four years in prison and fined $8, 000. He appealed in a 1928 landmark case on the grounds that wiretapping was unconstitutional based on the 4th and 5th Amendments. After losing his appeal, Olmstead served his time at McNeil Island Penitentiary and was released in 1931.
Having converted to the Christian Science faith in prison, and now believing that alcohol was destructive, Olmstead spent his remaining years counseling and teaching from the Bible, providing rehabilitative services to Puget Sound inmates, and operating a ministry from the Times Square Building until his death in 1966.
|Notes||Handwritten on image: [...] Olmstead.|
Caption information source: HistoryLink.org.
Date photograph was filed at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (date of photograph and file date may differ by a month or more): February 3, 1926.
|Subjects||Courthouses--Washington (State)--Seattle; Prohibition--Washington (State)--Seattle |
|Personal Names||Olmstead, Roy|
|Places||United States--Washington (State)--Seattle |
|Digital Collection||Museum of History & Industry Photograph Collection |
|Image Number||1986.5G.2267 |
|Ordering Information||To order a reproduction or to inquire about permissions contact email@example.com or phone us at 206-324-1126. Please refer to the Image Number and provide a brief description of the photograph. |
|Credit Line||Seattle Post-Intelligencer Collection, Museum of History & Industry, Seattle; All Rights Reserved |
|Repository||Museum of History & Industry, Seattle (MOHAI) |
|Repository Collection||Seattle Post-Intelligencer Collection |
|Physical Description||1 glass negative: b&w; 4 x 5 in. |
|Digital Reproduction Information||Scanned from original negative as a 3000 pixel TIFF image in 8-bit grayscale, resized to 640 pixels in the longest dimension and compressed into JPEG format using Photoshop 6.0 and its JPEG quality measurement 3. |