Ned Rodgers and the Blind Pig

an old saloon

Here I am almost at the end of this series of articles about the Rodgers family and I haven't mentioned the story of Ned Rodgers and the blind pig.

According to my sister, my cousin, and Wikipedia—all loyal persons and true—a "blind pig" is a variation on a speakeasy. The proprietor of a blind pig would charge his patrons to view an attraction, such as a blind pig, and then provide a drink at no extra charge. This would get around the requirement to have a liquor license. A speakeasy skipped the middleman, or pig, and went straight for the liquor.

At any rate, Ned Rodgers ran a blind pig "down the hill from the Rodgers' home on East 89th." I tried the satellite view in Google Maps to see where "down the hill" could be. There are railroad tracks in a bit of a ravine just east of 89th that might be the place, but that would put the drinking establishment in some kind of home made shack. Harvard and Broadway both drop off a little heading west from 89th, and Whitehead Ave, which is between the two streets, might run downhill a bit from Harvard to meet Broadway. So I guess I really don't know where the after hours place was.

Ned would keep the night's proceeds in a sock hanging near the door. This seems like a good idea, since the sock could do double duty as a cash register and a billy club. A well-aimed sock full of nickels would probably make an effective peace keeper if any of the clientele got out of hand.

As with most entrepreneurs, Ned was evidently inclined to re-invest the profits in the business. His wife Ann had other ideas though, and from time to time would send one of the girls down the hill to raid the sock, thus keeping the Rodgers' household supplied with more basic necessities. How does that saying go? "Behind every successful man there are seven good women?" Something like that.

And so that's the story of the Rodgers family and the blind pig.

For this complete series of articles, see:

Part one: Edward "Ned" Rodgers of Kilkeel and Cleveland

Part two: Edward and Anna Rodgers: the Outbound Journey

Part three: Edward and Anna Rodgers: the Cleveland Years

Part four: Ned Rodgers and the Blind Pig

Part five: Anna (Cunningham) Rodgers, of Kilkeel and Cleveland



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