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St. Paul


Gangsters Part of Saint Paul’s Unsavory Past

This saintly city of cathedrals, culture and Old World charm was once the sinful city of speakeasies, brothel madams and gangster trials. Saint Paul invites you to look back at her unsavory past with historic gangster era activities.

The Volstead Act of 1919 ushered in the era of Prohibition, which would last until 1933. During the 1920s, Saint Paul was a safe haven for Chicago mobsters, largely because Police Chief John O’Connor developed a system whereby gangsters would not be prosecuted as long as they did not commit crimes within the city of Saint Paul. This system protected the citizens, and also encouraged the gangsters to come into the city to spend money. However, when prohibition was repealed the gangsters lost a main source of revenue -bootlegging - and resorted to crime to support themselves.

Visitors can tour Landmark Center, the majestic castle-like structure on Rice Park, which once served as the Federal Court House and was the site of famous gangster trials in the 1930s. Costumed characters such as Ma Barker and Alvin ‘Creepy’ Karpis tell tales of the roaring '20s as they guide visitors throughout this magnificent building. Saint Paul gangster tours are bus tours on which mobster guides tote Tommy guns and take visitors to famous gangster crime sites, hideaways, speakeasies and gathering spots, many of which have changed little since the 1930s. Stops include Ma Barker’s home,

Rice Park & The Landmark Center
Rice Park & The Landmark Center



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Source: St. Paul CVA; magazineUSA.com
Last modified: 20080915
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