Palmer Woods Historical Archives

>> Owners

William G. “Big Bill” Lias

Gangster William George ‘‘Big Bill’’ Lias, born at the turn of the 20th century, was a flamboyant bootlegger, leader of organized crime, and professional gambler in Wheeling, West Virginia. By 1920, he had left his family grocery business in Wheeling for a career in the illegal sale and distribution of liquor during Prohibition. Weighing in at over 340 pounds, he was associated with the Purple Gang of Detroit. He had four convictions and served a couple of prison terms for illegal bootlegging, though many acquaintances hint that he got away with much more than those charged. After the end of Prohibition in 1933, he turned his pursuits toward illegal gambling. Alternating between homes in Wheeling and the Detroit area, his acts of public charity during the Depression and later meant that he would be known for his largess as well as his largeness.

Palmer Woods Residence

1411 Strathcona Drive

Sitting impressively on the corner of Strathcona and Cumberland, this 6,000 plus square foot English Tudor Revival was designed by Alvin E. Harley and completed in 1923.
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