The Park Hotel was built in the 1870’s and has been preserved to reflect its vintage. The 25-room hotel is decorated in the spirit of the Victorian Era. Adjacent to the lobby is the Hotel’s original Dining Hall which is connected to the Round House Bar. In keeping with the nostalgia of the era, the dining hall has now been transformed into The Red Moon, the island’s only Speakeasy.
Speakeasies were hidden areas or rooms of an establishment that were used to illegally sell alcoholic beverages during Prohibition. To enter a speakeasy, one would need to say a password to the doorperson so they would know whether or not they were secret agents. The word “speak easy” came from a bartender’s term: people were supposed to “speak easy” when at a bar, meaning not to draw any suspicion towards buying alcoholic beverages by looking nervous or talking quickly.
The transportation of liquor to the Speakeasy’s became quite a business on the Great Lakes. Boatloads of smugglers, called “Rum Runner’s”, were taking up business across the Lake. Nearly 900,000 cases of liquor were shipped to lakefront towns from over 100 Canadian breweries and distilleries in the first seven months of Prohibition. Bootlegging had become a glittering world of fast riches for those who dared to defy the law.
It was during this time that a young lady named Magi was working as a maid at The Hotel on South Bass Island. She had fallen in love with a commercial fisherman from Ontario, Canada, who had turned bootlegger. He was known only as “Max” to the island people. Max was making runs for a quite a while to the islands, as well as the mainland, in his 30 ft. Belle Isle Bearcat named “Midnight Fox”. It was just a matter of time before the Coast Guard would catch up with him. Unfortunately the ambush occurred on Max and Magi’s last planned run just past Ballast Island.
Before The Red Moon, the room had been used as the hotel’s dining hall, the Winter Bar, Chicken Patio indoor seating, an employee break room, a band room, and hosted various Round House events. The unique original tin ceiling was recently painted gold and the walls re-wallpapered. The engraved table tops came from the old picnic tables that once provided seating in The Round House Bar during the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. So sit back, relax and enjoy a classic cocktail at The Red Moon. Cheers!