Moose Jaw… The City
July 1881 – James Ross & Hector Sutherland were exploring for land that they felt sure would be the choice of the Canadian Pacific Railway for a divisional point. The juncture of Moose Jaw & Thunder Creek was the best place to cross the river valley & there was an abundant water supply for steam locomotives.
April 1883 – The first scheduled passenger train arrived in Moose Jaw. Moose Jaw’s business centre consisted of 6 stores, 5 saloons, 1 drugstore, 2 blacksmiths, 3 hotels & 40 houses.
Early 1900’s- The tunnels underneath the city were finished, being built for maintenance of the heating systems under the buildings in the downtown area.
1906-1936 – Moose Jaw Brewing & Malting Company was in operation.
1920-1930’s – During the US era of Prohibition, Moose Jaw was Al Capone’s source for liquor.
1985 – A truck fell through a downtown street, revealing a tunnel that led into a vast underground network. Anthropologists and local historians concluded that the tunnels connected several hotels that were long rumored to have served as brothels & saloons during Prohibition.
June 2000 – The Tunnels of Moose Jaw opened its doors, story telling with history & presenting it in an entertaining & educational way. First, that Chinese migrants lived & worked in the tunnels, providing cheap labor while existing in a sad state as the city’s subterranean society. Second, that the tunnels were used during prohibition for rumrunners & gangsters.
The Moose Jaw Tunnels- Al Capone’s Hangout?
During Prohibition, alcohol was legal in Canada & with ready access to Chicago by rail, it was a relatively simple matter for Capone to distill & ship alcohol in great quantities directly to Chicago for sale to fund his criminal empire. When in Moose Jaw, Al Capone supposedly (Although there were several reports by people who said they saw him, no photographs or documentation exists) lived in a motel directly across the street from the Canadian Pacific Railway depot/freight yard & operated his enterprises in a network of steam tunnels & rooms under the streets of the city.
Why did we name our restaurant/micro-brewery after a city with such a past?
The history, whether fictious or not, of the city was so interesting; we thought it would make a great restaurant concept. Also, the fact that we make our own microbrew at Moosejaw lent itself wonderfully to Al Capone using the city as a hub of action during the Prohibition.
Our tribute’s to this past include:
- The Canadian flag proudly displayed in the restaurant’s entryway.
- Many of the large trusses used in building were flown in from Canada.
- The Red Maple Leaf located in many of our advertising pieces, giving nod to the Canadian flag.
- The Shaved Capone- It’s rumored Al Capone would smuggle the famous Moosejaw Beef across the border back to Chicago for his mom. In keeping with Al’s love for Momma, we prepare thinly sliced Italian-style beef, top it with pepperoncinis, green & red peppers, mushrooms, provolone cheese & a sweet gangsta mustard sauce all on a toasted roll.
Also, pictures of this colorful history adorn the walls of the restaurant.
Excerpts & pictures are credited to www.moosejaw.ca , www.virtualsk.com & www.tunnelsofmoosejaw.com