Image from an old newspaper clipping of Sheriff Clyde Nichols and Deputy Gray seizing evidence of a large operation in Washington County. Courtesey of Eddie Nichols.
I’ve been familiar with this little 50 gallon rig for a while as it is on prominent display in the agriculture barn at the Stevens Museum in Salem Indiana and Hell’s Half Acre Hellbilly Burlesque Show have used it as a prop many times! Built from stainless steel milk tank and a stainless steel mixing bowl she featured a double coiled worm one inch in diameter and a peek inside reveals that she was run quite frequently. It also unfortunately revealed that she was scorched quite a bit. If you’ve never tasted burnt whiskey I can tell you this, it is hard to forget that rancid quality once you have tasted it.
This still apparently set in a modified fire place in the living room of an old farmhouse in the county. Try as I might I have never been able to find out who ran or owned this still. This is just a small piece of the distilling heritage (Illicit here obviously) of Washington County but I will be introducing more articles and photos from the papers over the coming months and years to further illustrate the depth of distilling in these Hoosier Hills.