The Man with the Green Hat’s House

The “man with the green hat” was famous in Washington DC during Prohibition. His name was George Cassidy and he was the unofficial bootlegger to Congress, the man who supplied all the “wet-drys” in the House of Representatives and the Senate. (A wet-dry is a politician who drinks but votes for prohibition.) Since most politicians were wet-drys, Cassidy had a lot of business. So much that he had to work from morning to late in the evening each day. 

It didn’t pay to be too blatant about delivering booze to Capitol Hill, so Cassidy played it carefully. Congressmen gave him office space in the House of Representatives building so they could pick up their illegal booze discretely. This went on for the first 5 years of Prohibition, until the Capitol Police busted him. He paid a fine. Banned from the House, he set up business in the Senate side, where complicit senators gave him space for his repository in what is now the Russell Building. Cassidy wrote in his memoirs that senators referred to him as the “librarian” and the product he sold as “new reading matter.” He was noted for wearing a green fedora. 

When I was visiting family on Capitol Hill yesterday, someone told me the house across the street was for sale–it had belonged to the Man with the Green Hat. And it’s even painted green! Check it out: 303 17th Street SE, listed for $650,000. No liquor included. 

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