Moonshine and Loudoun’s Toll House

The ailing structure now owned by Loudoun County and its Stone Bridge played a role in bootlegging history.

In the good ‘ole days of the early 20th century, Loudoun was no stranger to moonshine.

A recent invitation to a Prohibition-era party, the recent show Moonshiners on the Discovery Channel, and my current scruffy goatee prompted me to do a web search for images of 1920s moonshiners so I could put together an outfit. Among the results, a very familiar old house caught my eye – it was the Toll House, which stood on the west side of Broad Run, which a stone bridge formerly spanned.

I clicked on the results and came across a story by local historian (and current planning commissioner) Eugene Scheel on the History of Loudoun website explaining that the Toll House was a place to buy moonshine during Prohibition.

Here’s on passage from Scheel’s story:

A favorite location for selling the bootleg was the Broad Run Tollhouse, still standing west of the run and on the south side of Route 7. Before the tolls were removed in 1924, every motor vehicle and wagon crossing the bridge had to stop by the stone building. Amos Jenkins, Curtis Jenkins's uncle, farmed the land about the pike and partnered in the selling of whiskey with Lertie Holsinger. Again the price was $2 a pint and $8 to $9 a gallon. Roger Powell, a raconteur of eastern Loudoun, told me a few years ago that the brew "was real hot stuff."

In the early 1920s, the partners got into an argument over sales territory, and Holsinger pulled a .22 on Jenkins and killed him. The tollhouse became off-limits for sales, but only for a few years. Another fatal shooting took place in 1923 on the forested backland of Belmont Plantation in Ashburn. Morris Poole and Ed Ball had set up a still there and hired a man Powell called Mr. C. to guard the operation with a .25-caliber pistol.

Read Scheel's full story here.

When the county purchased the house, I slipped by and snapped the accompanying photos (only the color photos).

Also see:

Planning Begins on Toll House's Future

Sold: Broad Run Toll House


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