Re-enactor brings Carrie Nation back to bust up B&L Bar
NEW ULM — After 109 year, Carry Nation returned to New Ulm to once again bring her wrath down on B&L Bar.
Professional historical impersonator, Ellie Carlson, came to New Ulm, fully dressed as Nation to rail against the evils of drink in the downtown bar, ahead of historical program hosted by Turner Hall on Friday.
Carry Nation was a radical member of the temperance movement who opposed alcohol in the early 20th Century before the 18th Amendment (Prohibition) passed in Congress. Nation was famous for heading into saloons and speaking out against the evils of alcohol, often going as far as to smash up the liquor stock with rocks or a hatchet. She was arrested several times, but she continued her work.
In July of 1909, Nation did stop in New Ulm during a scheduled break en-route to Redwood Falls. She walked from the train station to the what is now the B&L to rail against the bars. She called the bars “disreputable joints” and “hell holes.”
Turner Hall is hosting a reenactment of a temperance rally and invited Carlson to play the historical figure. In order to raise awareness for the event, they asked Carlson to reenact Nation’s real life visit to the B&L.
Carlson came into the B&L and began speaking out against the evils of alcohol. Many of the B&L’s patrons were warned in advance of the historical reenactment, but a few others were caught by surprise and did not expect to be admonished for ordering a beer. The high point was when she grabbed a beer from Mark Windschitl and threw the contents out the door.
At the end of her program Carlson, acting as Nation, vowed to stay in New Ulm and hold a rally at Turner Hall, after which she would lead a protest into the Rathskeller Bar.
In addition to her performance at the B&L, Carlson gave a presentation at the New Ulm Library on World War I. The program was on how families on the homefront confronted the end of the war. The 100th anniversary of the First World War’s end is Sunday, Nov. 11.
The main purpose of Carlson’s visit to New Ulm will be to portray Carry Nation and the Prohibition movement at the Turnverein’s annual “Stiftungsfest” (Founders’ Day) at Turner Hall. The event will begin at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 9, at historic Turner Hall. The event historic program is free to the public.
To see more of Carlson’s unusual profession, visit http://elliepresents.com/interpretations/carry-nation/ and view her Carry Nation video “Costumed Interpretations.”