On October 20, 1930, Illinois State Attorney Harry Pratt ordered Peoria’s gambling establishments closed for the first time in the city’s history.

Pratt was less concerned with solving the violent murder of a gambling house proprietor’s wife than with quelling rumors of corrupt financial interests in the gambling houses, and his order underscored the uneasy relationship the powers-that-be had developed with Peoria’s organized vice. Both Pratt and Mayor Woodruff understood that the city’s economy thrived on the various rackets being run all over town, and that reform efforts had historically been unpopular and ineffective.