Sunday, December 31, 2017

DECEMBER 31 = George Remus Throws a Party!!

George Remus (left); called the King of the Bootleggers. A man who raised himself from a clerk at his father's drugstore to the richest and most successful bootlegger in the country until he was imprisoned in 1924. HOW he did this is covered in my post for October 6: "George Remus Kills HisWife" ( ). There you will find a detailed account of  the rise and fall of George Remus. But as it is New Year's
Eve, I thought that I would give you an account of what sounds like the party to end all parties: the New Year's Eve Party thrown by Remus on today's date in 1921, leading to 1922. Of course details differ, but I shall try to put together what I can find. I won't go on for too long - just enough to let you know what occurred, and what might have occurred.

The Big People and the Big Pool

Toward the end of 1921 George Remus had amassed a fortune through his bootlegging operations that approached $6 million.  He had  built himself a huge mansion (below) in what was then a fashionable section of his adopted hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, and furnished it with all of the finest trappings available to him.... furniture, rugs, drapery, plants, and a library were all the best that his ill-gotten gains could buy.  And he decided to throw a New Years Eve bash to show it
all off to a fine guest list which included some 100 rich and influential people whom he and his wife Imogene wished to impress.  They came from all around the country; New York, Washington, San Francisco, Chicago, and of course Cincinnati itself.  And as a part of his place he spent $100,000 to build a Grecian swimming pool and a building to house the pool which he would make the center piece of his party. The building which covered the pool was 86 feet wide and 115 feet long, and had a roman-style garden, and also a heating plant.  The pool, lined with Rookwood pottery had flowers arranged all around its edges. it was called "the Imogene Bath" in honor of Mrs. Remus who was said to be an excellent swimmer. In  a covered area nearby, an orchestra serenaded the guests as they sipped on fine champagne, wine, and of course whisky.  And to top it all off Remus had hired troupe of professional divers from Chicago to do exhibitions for his guests.

And the Lovely Party Favors...

After a sumptuous dinner around the great pool served by lovely young women all dressed in white, they used  the diving board of the pool as a platform from which to make formal statements.
Exactly who made these statements, and what they said has not been recorded. I have read that crisp new thousand dollar bills were wrapped around the dinner napkins, but this may simply be part of urban legend. And there is some slight disagreement about the exact nature of some of the party favors.  It is certain that he had diamond stickpins and diamond jewelry specially made for the occasion to his guests.  The jewelry for the ladies was likely earrings, although it has been said in at least one source that the ladies got diamond necklaces. And it has been recorded it at least one on-line source that the gentlemen received diamond watches. This may simply be another
exaggeration in the record of the man's fantastic record. What is certain is that each of the ladies was given the keys to a brand new car parked in front of the mansion. At the stroke of midnight even Remus himself  jumped into the pool in his tuxedo. But that was it for the man. Remus himself was a teetotalar, and handed the party over to his wife, and retired to his library, wherein he sat quietly reading until early the next morning.

Sources =

"King of the Bootleggers - A Biography of George Remus" by William Cook,
Mc Farland & Co. Inc. Publishers, N. Carolina, London, 2008

"Cincinnati Art Deco" by Steven J. Rolfes and Douglas R. Weise,  2014.

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