Franklin County Courthouse

Frankin County Courthouse, 275 South Main Street, Rocky Mount, Virginia

Frankin County Courthouse, 275 South Main Street, Rocky Mount, Virginia

–  Click on the image to enlarge or purchase  –

Franklin County Courthouse

The county seat of Franklin County is Rocky Mount. Here you will find the impressive, 1910-built, white Franklin County Courthouse.  The courts that were held in this building were probably responsible for locking up more bootleggers than any other building in the country.

During Prohibition, local wits named Franklin County the “Moonshine Capital of the World”, as moonshine production and bootlegging drove the economy.  Historians estimate that in the 1920s, 99 of every 100 Franklin County residents were in some way involved in the illegal liquor trade. The bootleggers became involved with gangsters from Chicago and other major cities, and some local law enforcement officials were part of the criminal activities and killing of competitors. Moonshine – Blue Ridge Style has the following quote which perfectly sums up the extent of the illegal undertakings:  “Between 1930 and 1935 local still operators and their business partners sold a volume of whiskey that would have generated $5,500,000 in excise taxes at the old 1920 tax rate.”

Frankin County Courthouse, 275 South Main Street, Rocky Mount, Virginia

Frankin County Courthouse, 275 South Main Street, Rocky Mount, Virginia

–  Click on the image to enlarge or purchase  –

Franklin County is the setting for Matt Bondurant’s historical novel, The Wettest County in the World (2008) set in the Prohibition era, featuring his grandfather and two great-uncles among the bootleggers.  You may have seen the recent film Lawless starring Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, Guy Pearce which was adapted from the book.

6 Comments

  1. Interesting post Mark. Don’t know much about the Prohibition period and the book sounds interesting. I’ll check it out. Nice images.
    Len Saltiel recently posted..Badlands MoonriseMy Profile

  2. Two really great shots here, Mark. My fave is the top one, it’s perfectly framed and shows the true beauty of this great building.

    I have always found the prohibition era interesting. Those were obviously tough times on the heels of the stock market crash (1929), so people were sort of in survival mode. Nonetheless, the law was what it was.

    Many movies have been based on that period of time and HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” follows the same premise.
    Jimi Jones recently posted..Dining CarMy Profile

  3. An elegant building. Both shots add something to the overall feel of this place. The sums of money involved are staggering.
    LensScaper recently posted..Stripes and LeavesMy Profile

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