The bootlegger George Remus died more than fifty years ago, and his bootlegging days on Cincinnati’s west side ended thirty years before that. But he’s suddenly finding himself famous again, both in fact and fiction. A book about him, published by the Price Hill Historical Society, will be available at a book signing at the society’s museum, 3640 Warsaw Avenue, from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm on Wednesday, October 5, preceding the group’s regular monthly meeting.
Meanwhile, the HBO drama Boardwalk Empire season premiere on Sunday, September 25, introduced Remus as a character in the story of a bootleg empire in Atlantic City during Prohibition. The Remus character is played by Glenn Feshler, who does look like the real-life Price Hill resident who controlled three-quarters of the illicit whiskey distribution in the eastern United States in the first few years of Prohibition. Apparently his character is none too pleased to find an upstart moving in on his business in New Jersey.
And Remus is also featured in a segment of the new Ken Burns’ documentary, Prohibition, in the episode that will be broadcast in Cincinnati on PBS stations on Monday, October 3 at 8 pm. Burns’ production company contacted both the Delhi Historical Society, which currently features an exhibit on Remus, and the Price Hill Historical Society, as they worked on the documentary.
The Price Hill Historical Society, located just a few blocks from the site of the mansion where the real Remus lived, often receives inquiries about the life and times of George Remus, pharmacist, attorney, bootlegger, and eventually, federal felon and acquitted murderer. The story of his life is compelling, and the memories of his elegantly appointed mansion, swank swimming pool, stables, greenhouses, and society parties live on in Price Hill.
So, with all the interest in Remus, the society decided it was about time they published a book that answered some of the questions about this German-born Chicago attorney who decided to move to Cincinnati and make his fortune flaunting the prohibition of liquor sales in the 1920s.The book the society published with Edgecliff Press features both the facts and the memories of the impact Remus made on the neighborhood during the five years or so he lived in the neighborhood during the 1920s.
The book, by Julie Hotchkiss and Joyce Meyer, is titled Remembering Remus in Price Hill, and is also available online through the Price Hill Historical Society bookstore. The exhibit at the Delhi Historical Society on the life of George Remus will be on display through November 15, on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday afternoons from 12 noon to 3 pm. For more information about the book, visit the Price Hill Historical Society website, and for more about the exhibit, visit the Delhi Historical Society website.
And it will be interesting to see how much the character of George Remus in Boardwalk Empire resembles the real-life Remus, who was himself the inspiration for a classic, The Great Gatsby.