Do you ever wonder what St. Paul was like in the era of gangsters and organized crime? With the help of the Wabasha Street Caves’ Saint Paul Gangster Tours, you can learn from a mobster (in costume) about what life was like as outlaws in the city, the places they would frequent, and the crimes they committed.
“The tour goes all over St. Paul and the surrounding area,” says Edward D. Lindem, the Wabasha Street Caves’ director of themed entertainment, who oversees all actors, tour guides, and performers on staff. “[The tour features] sights like [the former] Hamm’s Brewery and an apartment building where John Dillinger had a shootout.”
Wabasha Street Caves offers the gangster tours year-round every Saturday at noon and 2:30 p.m. Groups of 25 or more can book a private tour for outings and special events, and reservations can be made via phone.
“This tour is so unique because your guide is an in-character gangster,” Lindem says. “Ranging from John Dillinger to Nina Clifford and BabyFace Nelson, you get to hear about their [lawlessness in the city] and about when St. Paul wasn’t so ‘saintly’.”
Each tour covers history from the 1920s and 1930s, including the corruption of the St. Paul Police Department, prohibition, bank robberies, and more.
“Though we are speaking about gangsters, molls, and hit men, it is told theatrically,” Lindem says. “It doesn’t feel like you are stuck in a classroom, and you are able to come off the tour knowing more about the history right in our backyard that you may have never known before.”