Many of the original farmers in Ryde came from the Azores, settling in the lower half of Grand Island, and Portuguese surnames are still common in the area. In 1931, a daughter of the Vieira family and her husband Albine Korth purchased land on the island for an asparagus farm. Their location at the confluence of the San Joaquin and Mokelumne Rivers proved to be an ideal spot for a marina, and in 1938 they started a small business that eventually became Korth’s Pirate’s Lair Resort.
Ryde is best known as the “speakeasy hamlet,” since from 1918 to 1933, Prohibition created a lucrative underground bootleg industry for the isolated town, focused on the basement “speakeasy” at the Ryde Hotel. Both the speakeasy and its secret tunnel for riverborne liquor deliveries were raided several times and finally closed down. Today, the Ryde Hotel is a popular wedding and brunch destination and still operates as a boutique hotel.
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