No, this has nothing to do with Clemson fans who can't see well. A blind tiger is an establishment that sells liquor illegally. In other words, it's a speakeasy, though apparently speakeasies were considered a little more high-class than blind tigers. The term became popular before and during Prohibition.
Again, some of my best postings come about when I'm looking for something else. Today, while looking for an article in the Methodist Advocate in September 1913, I came across a front-page story headlined "Spartanburg and Blind Tigers" suggesting Spartanburg had come under control of the "liquor devil"
A front page story? The Methodists in South Carolina were so concerned about alcohol that the existence of some illegal pubs in an upcountry city was worthy of front-page coverage?
The article compares the way several cities in the Palmetto State deal with liquor. In Charleston, the state's most open "wet" city, the local authorities countenanced it, mostly because the citizenry wanted them to. In other cities, like Columbia, there had been a recent crackdown.
The Advocate took note of a Spartanburg Herald story that proclaimed "mischief is afoot." "Liquor can be bought at any time of day or night without going a hundred yards from any of the principal business offices of the city. Vice flourishes, not alone in wary retirement to remote places. Professional gamblers are lying in wait for lambs to shear. The word has one out through all the region round about that in Spartanburg the pasture is open and fine for all that make prey of manhood…"
"All this is going on because nine-tenths of our citizenship simply does not realize the rapidity with which the control of the moral atmosphere of the community has been slipping away from them. If they were aware of all that went on during the past seven days, for instance, they would be amazed."
I never knew what a den of iniquity Spartanburg was in the 1910s! And I think I will refrain from comment on how the presence of the college gave the town even greater reason to purify itself and rid itself of a reputation as a "wide open town."
Methodists in the years after the Civil War had gotten pretty serious about alcohol, and the church newspaper in 1913 was covered with articles about temperance. One does wonder what they'd say today if they saw Morgan Square, with the Irish pub, the nightclub, and the other restaurants!
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