WFSU News · Tallahassee · Panama City · Thomasville
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
WFSU Local News

The Roaring Twenties Return to Goodwood Museum and Gardens


Tallahassee’s Goodwood Museum and Gardens is tapping the nostalgia connected with the Prohibition Era as a theme for its upcoming fundraiser. In fact, there are historical links between that time period and the old Goodwood Mansion.

Museum and Gardens Co-Executive Director Nancy Morgan explained the connection:

“Goodwood today looks like it did in 1923, more or less,” she observed. “That was absolutely the height of Prohibition and what a lot of people don’t realize about Prohibition is that it banned the manufacture and sale of alcohol, but it did not ban consumption and I have a feeling there was a lot of consumption happening in Goodwood in those entertaining days.”

One very tangible remnant of that wild and crazy time greets mansion visitors to this day.

“We have an amazing liquor cart with silver-capped bottles that sits right by the front door and I think it always did,” Morgan observed. “So there’s definitely evidence of good entertaining, but we don’t have a record of the illicit stuff. Rumor has it there was a still in the woods down the hill, even to the point there were a bunch of broken bottles that remained. But a recent foray into the woods to look for that did not produce any good results.”

Thus emerged the idea of tapping the Prohibition era mystique for the upcoming Goodwood gala entitled “Fanny’s Follies.” Caroline Brewster is the event co-chair.

“For the beginning of the event we have the VIP portion that goes from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. for VIP ticket holders and sponsors, including Capital City Bank and NAI Talcor. The first part of the event will be at the main house on the porch and we’ll have some charcuterie and raw oyster bar. There will be a gin tasting to give people a chance to sample different gins. We won’t have any bathtub gin, but we’ll have some finer fare,” she grinned.

Then the action moves to the Carriage House. Although Brewster insisted it will go by another name for the occasion.

“At 7:00 p.m. the ‘Main Speakeasy’ will be opened,” she said. “It will be really interesting because they’ve transformed the outside of the space so I think people won’t recognize it when they walk up. That will be open bar and buffet and then music and dancing. We have Colleen Nixon and Avis Berry doing all of our music and we’re very grateful for that.”

Of course, being Goodwood, even the parties are an opportunity for education, said, Co-Exec Nancy Morgan. “In conjunction with the party is ‘A Dry Spell: A Brief History of Prohibition’ exhibit. We’re looking at everything from the rise or organized crime to all kinds of rum running, bootlegging and the revenuers who chased them. So I think there’ll be some fun stuff in the exhibit.”

Added Goodwood Board Chair Cindy Phipps, it’s also a chance for more community outreach and awareness.

“What is important to us is to get as many people out to Goodwood as possible,” she insisted. “It’s meant to be a community resource and we want as many people to come and see and experience Goodwood as possible, whether that’s for the architecture, the gardens, the main house, or any of the rest of the collections, it’s just important to us that the whole community gets to enjoy Goodwood.”

Event Co-Chair and Head flapper Caroline Brewster, says “Fanny’s Follies” is almost here.

“It’s Friday, November 15th with the VIP portion from 6:30 until 7:30. Main event doors open at 7:00 p.m. You can purchase tickets onsite or on the Goodwood web site or Facebook page.”

So “twenty-three skiddoo” and “oh, you kid!”