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Chelsea may be famous for Jiffy Mix, the Purple Rose Theatre, and its thriving art and restaurant scene, but there’s more to the city’s story.  

The Chelsea Area Historical Society’s wildly popular walking tour — “Boozy History of Chelsea: Saloons, Pubs & Bars,” — returns this year on Saturdays, June 15 and 22. 

Tour leader and organizer, Jasen King, is excited about the museum’s new “pub crawl.” Working with former board member Cary Church’s research and museum volunteer Mary Keaton, he found a deep well of stories dating from the 1850s through the 1990s, highlighting a wild and free-flowing past filled with political intrigue, gambling, murder, and hours-long fist fights. 

“Chelsea has a fascinating history,” said King. “Much of the past has been forgotten, but this tour will tell the stories of legal and illegal drinking, tavern escapades, the temperance movement and prohibition, and how the landscape and demand for alcohol morphed into today’s sensibility.” 

King said that, at times, the rules and regulations were less stringent, but sometimes state politicians, like Frank Glazier, took a local and strong hand in solving the drinking and gambling problems of their era. 

CAHS board president and Chelsea native, Jan Bernath, recalls the “bar scene” growing up in the 1940s and ‘50s.  

“I always thought Seitz’s on West Middle Street was the only bar ever in town,” said Bernath.  “When the idea came up to develop a historic pub crawl, I was all in. I’m thrilled with the new tour and the stories and secrets behind Chelsea’s familiar storefronts that are still standing.” 

Because much of the walking event takes place in the city’s social district, the tour includes stops for beverages. Walkers will be able to stroll with their beverage of choice.  

Tickets and more info about “Boozy Chelsea: Saloons, Pubs & Bars” are available via Eventbrite Admission is $20 for the 90-minute tour, with discounts for museum members.   

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