The prohibition of alcohol in Indiana began with a 1790 – 1795 Northwest Territory law that prevented the sale of alcohol to soldiers or Native Americans. Over the next 118 years, the state legislature and local authorities implemented and repealed a variety of alcohol related regulations. In 1908, ten years before the entire state of Indiana went dry, a local option was established, allowing individual counties to vote on the issue. Marion County and Indianapolis did not “go dry,” prompting Frank Naegele to send a teasing Penny Post to his friend in dry Grant County, encouraging him to come visit the William Brommer Saloon where he tended bar.

42 Virginia Avenue was doors down from the Pembroke Arcade (image courtesy IUPUI Digital Archives)

Postmarked: Indianapolis, IND., MAR 8, 1909 – 1 PM


WM. BROMMER, 42 Virginia Ave., Indianapolis


The author of this postcard, Frank C. Naegele, was a bartender at the Brommer saloon in 1909.

Come in and see me when in the city. Sorry to hear Marion went dry.
Frank Naegele

Addressed to:
Mr. G. B. Sprowl
Marion, Indiana

W. 9th St

A penny for your thoughts … Were you or your relations effected by Prohibition when it reached Indianapolis in 1918?

2 responses to “Penny Post: WM Brommer Saloon”

  1. Tom says:

    Nice find, Ashley. I believe this is the first early 20th century Indiana postcard I’ve seen that shows the interior of a saloon.Saloons were common in cities of all sizes and were captured by the photographers in the street views. However, the saloons were not a focal point of the photographs.

    When looking at the Sanborn™ fire insurance map sets, it’s more common to see the saloons on the maps prior to 1910 or so. Then, in subsequent 1910s map sets, they’re often all gone. In many cases they were converted to pool and/or billiards halls.Occasionally, they became soft drink parlors.

    In some Indiana county seats, several saloons were clustered around the county courthouses—an interesting phenomenon, to say the least!

  2. David J Shedlock says:

    I have dozens of Indy postcard images. If you will send an email address I could send them to,

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