Saturday, July 11, 2015

Prohibition or Not?

Peggy was born in 1913 and did in fact grow up during "Prohibition". My use of the term to describe the period of her illegal liquor sales may have been a slight misuse of the term but, certianly not an embellishment as was recently claimed by an anonymous commentor. Alcohol was most definitely prohibited in Floyd County throughout the fifty's whether or not it was officially "Prohibition".

Although Prohibition officially ended with the ratification of the Twenty-First Amendment in 1933 (when Peggy was 20), Georgia was one of eight states that wouldn't even consider the amendment.

Many southern counties continued to prohibit alcohol sales locally and several still do today. Rome and Floyd county remained dry up into the late fifty'sand possibly early 60's because I can still remember it and I was quite young then. As a result, Floyd County, Georgia which remained dry up into the early 60's and was a hot bed of boot leggers.

I remember as a child when many Romans made the treck on Friday's after work to either Marietta, Atlanta or Piedmont, Alabama where liquor could be purchased legally and brought home.  Rome had several restaurants where you could bring your own liquor in a brown bag but you couldn't purchase liquor while there. Those that come to mind are Diprima's Steakhouse and private clubs like the Coosa Country Club and the Elks Club.

The local churches were very vocal in their opposition to liquor sales as you can see in their "Open letter to the Grand Jury" below. There was a very real issue of public drunkeness and druges that was plainly visible. Yet Peggy very successfully ran a back door drive through liquor sales through all of this, which was probably a much more dangerous business than prostitution at the time.

I'm attaching some archived newspaper clippings from Google archives that will give you an idea of the climate;

Friday, December 19, 2014

Peggy's - the book?!

Many may wonder what's taking me so long to write a book about Peggy or even if I will. Other's wonder why on earth I am even interested. Well, I thought it's about time I explained myself a little. First of all, my interest in this woman started when I was a child wondering what on earth the boy's were giggling about, but in later years, as I became more aware of the many stories about her, I took more notice of my dad's stories about our other well known madam, Mabel. My father was a judge and then attorney in Rome for many years and Mable was one of his more colorful clients - though he had many. In my view, Mable wasn't as interesting as Peggy and not nearly as elusive, but her stories motivated me to seek more knowledge of Peggy.

The reason I haven't written a book up to now is that I believe there is a darker side to the story that I really want to know. I believe that during the time she was set up in business, she was helped and helped quite a bit. There were prostitution rings around the country and I suspect that Peggy's may have been a chain of something much larger.

One thing that made me perk up is when I was interviewing the former City Police Officer, Bill Kinney, who mused that Peggy's 'marketing' techniques were very much like those he saw when he was stationed in Paris during WWII. Peggy made sure her girls were well dressed and that they didn't appear in public unless she strategically planned an innocent shopping trip where she could parade them  just long enough to get noticed, but not so long that the townspeople could object. For some reason that stuck in my mind. I asked myself how a country girl from Alabama became so business savy at such a young age to be compared to sophisitcated operations in Paris, France.

Then I ran across a tidbit from someone who was a colleague of her accountant - the fact that she owned quite a bit of property in the Virgin Islands among other places. Her earnings seemed to far exceed what you might expect of a small town prostitute. I learned, but have not confirmed that she was a good friend and frequent guest of Fidel Castro and that she traveled to Cuba before travel there was prohibited.  These are things that are very difficult to prove but facinating to ponder.

For me, her story has to be much more than amusing tales of naughty mischief. I continue to research in order to reveal that bigger story that stays just out of my grasp. There is a chance I may never get there, so recenlty I allowed local historian, and my good friend Russell McClanahan, of the Rome History Museum to twist my arm into sharing Peggy's picture as well as writing a small blurb for ttheir book, Legendary Locals of Rome. So now Peggy is at least in print somewhere. The is book is out now and can be purchased at the Museum, Dogwood Books, or on  This would make an excellent gift book!


Wednesday, November 03, 2004

The Legend of Peggy Snead

I am attempting to write a book about a curious yet elusive woman in a small north Georgia town who managed to run a successful up-scale house of prostitution for over thirty years. Peggy Stone Snead was an uneducated country girl from an area called the 'Prospect Community' near Centre, Alabama. She came to Rome, Georgia as a young woman to work in the Celanese Mill by day, and began moonlighting in a local 'house' by night. It was said that she was exceptionally beautiful and many of the men at the plant tried to get close to her with no success whatsoever. It wasn't until one of them discovered her at her night job that it was understood why, so those who's hopes had been dashed time and again, found that there was another way to get to know her.

Over time, she supposedly earned enough money to start her own business and she left the plant to open up her own house. It was said that her business sense was remarkable. She ran a tight ship and her girls had frequent medical attention and were 'guaranteed safe'. On one rare occasion when a client did come down with an embarrassing 'condition', Peggy made good on her word by covering all of his medical costs.

Local business, such as dress store owners, grocers, and pharmacists catered to the cash paying Madam by bringing goods to her house for purchase. She kept a side business during prohibition of selling beer and Cuban rum - all without consequences. It was said that hers was a clearing house for girls from Cuba and the west coast so her house was constantly full of fresh faces. She also had a suspicious amount of property in the Virgin Islands as well as in Floyd County.

Most remarkable of all is that Peggy's was well known nationally and internationally and received no opposition from the local Police, local businesses or even the local women. Everyone looked the other way and accepted the house as a part of the community - peacefully. This is a phenomenon that has not occurred before or since. My question is why? What made Peggy different? From her signature pink clothing and hair to her signature pink French poodle, she stood out and hasn't been forgotten these long years.

I have been collecting all sorts of amusing stories about this woman and her house and I am posting here to collect more. Everything you read here is pure heresay, I admit it!I have a great start but there are just as many new questions being raised as there are answers. If you have any sort of anecdote about her or the house, please post them. I even take second and third hand stories...and your name won't be used.


Peggy (probably late 40's or early 50's)

Snead Cab Company, Rome, GA

Friday, October 29, 2004

Peggy's ad in the 1963 Georgia Tech Annual is on the bottom right.Click the picture to enlarge it. Posted by Hello

Friday, September 10, 2004

The 50's in Rome

Ok, it wouldn't be much of a story if we didn't set the scene. Peggy was at her height of success in the 50's. Do you remember what Rome was like then? The Toonville Trolley, Pop Skull, Chow Time, The Krystal, cruising, drag racing on Martha Berry.... Any memories to share? Please write in!

Monday, September 06, 2004


Back in the 1950’s, Rome, Georgia was pretty much like most small towns. There was more mischief than real crime. People didn’t lock their doors at night and they frequently left their keys in the ignition when they left their cars. The police force had little funding and with only two cars, officer’s walked a beat and checked on folks to make sure they were all right. Life was simpler and people were friendlier. An occasional prank every here and there was not only tolerated, it was expected – even from the police officers themselves.

One quiet, uneventful evening, a couple of young officers were making their rounds in one of the two available police cars, when one of them got it into his head that it just might be fun to play a little prank over at Peggy’s. He decided to get a hold of a jackass that he knew of and quietly led it to the front of her house, threatening his partner never to breathe a word of it to anyone if he valued his life. The police car coasted to the front of the house with their lights off, while the author of the plan led the jackass up the three steps to Peggy’s porch, tied the animal to the porch door, and quietly stole away.

It wasn’t long before Miss Peggy was calling the police chief at home and insisting that he do something about it. The Chief didn’t need to think long or hard before he called in the culprit on the radio and told him to get that jackass off of Peggy’s porch. The officer protested his complete lack of knowledge of the prank to no avail. The Chief knew good and well he was the one and he sent the two sheepish young men over to release the animal. When they arrived back at Peggy’s, they found her shooing the beast away from her door. They came and got him and moved him over behind City hall where he remained for a time. The officers were charged with his feed and care until he could be taken to a permanent home.

Saturday, September 04, 2004


While we are talking about legends, it's difficult not to throw in one or two that are a little off our subject. The first City police dog is just such a legend. As the story goes, back in the 50's when the City of Rome Police Department was in the basement of City Hall around the back, and there were only two police cars on the force, a mutt dog presented himself every evening around 10 p.m. to cover the night shift. He attached himself to one officer in particular, but if that one wasn't on duty, he had another one that he would accompany on his rounds. The officer's named him 'Bruno' and taught him to make the rounds with them on their nightly beat. Every evening he would report for duty at the same time, and the officers would meet him around the back side of City Hall and toot their horn twice signaling him to come to the car. Every morning around 7 a.m. when the shift was over, he would walk off to wherever he lived when he was off duty.

Bruno rode all over Rome and visited local businesses and restaurants with the officers, where he became known and loved all over town. Everyone knew Bruno. He became so beloved that when he died, the officers decided that he needed to be laid to rest at the City Hall that he seemed to love. A section of the concrete stairs leading down the right side of City Hall to the Water Billing office was removed so he could be buried there. The stairs were replaced over him so that Bruno could forever be a part of the City goverment that he had adopted as his own.

Bruno, Rome's First City Police Dog Posted by Hello