“Where gangsters from the 30's used to hide out”
If walls could talk, the Wabasha Street Caves in Saint Paul, MN would have countless stories to tell. Most famously known as a frequent gangster hideout for the likes of John Dillinger and Ma Barker, Wabash has been a speakeasy, an underground disco, and even a mushroom growing operation. In the 1840s the 12,000 square-foot man-made caves were mined for silica, which would have been used at the time to make glass. Afterwards, the sandstone mines became a family-owned mushroom farm and food storage. But the real story that everyone wants to hear about is the Wabash Street Caves' link to the nefarious world of organized crime. During prohibition the caves were the perfect place for hooch-hungry revelers to head for a night of booze, music, gambling, and dancing. The illegal nature of the speakeasy drew some rather unsavory characters, namely one John Dillinger. According to the legends, Dillinger, Ma Barker, and Babyface Nelson were notorious regulars, drinking and gambling long into the night. You can’t get a room full of gangsters together and not expect them to start cooking-up some illegal activity, and that’s exactly what they did at the Wabash Street Cave. It was here that the group planned and executed some of the most infamous crimes that the upper Midwest ever saw. If fact, there are quite a few stories that claim there were loads of mob hits that occurred while the cave was a hub for the criminal element. Obviously there's been ghost stories associated with the cave, thanks in part to the legends of grisly murders. Often times people will report hearing the sound of men whispering when there is no one around, and strange shadows that follow along quietly behind you in the darkness. Today the Wabasha Street Caves offers events and tours that range anywhere from gangster tours, to ghost tours, to awesome walking tours that take guests through a more in-depth history of the caves. If you're going to be in St. Paul, take a detour to the caves and have an afternoon adventure! -Roadtrippers Our famous crook's tour! Explore with us the sites of nightclubs, kidnappings, and gun battles associated with the 1930's gangsters like John Dillinger, Ma Barker and Babyface Nelson. See the sights where the gangsters lived it up as they planned and executed some of the most notorious crimes ever perpetrated in the upper Midwest. Your guide takes you past the most infamous gangster hideouts and the famous nightclubs where many gangsters spent time socializing with the public. Come hear and see the history of these sandstone caves. You will explore the original mined caves and see the finished caves (once a romantic night club called The Castle Royal). Hear the legends of the mobster massacres and ghostly lore in the most unique setting from Chicago to San Francisco. 45-minute walking tour - reservations not required.
The Wabasha Street Caves are an amazing local gem! If you're a history buff or love mobster haunts, this is a must-see. The 45-minute walking tour was engaging, humorous, and left us wanting even more. We can't wait to return soon!
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Wabasha Street Caves
- Thu: 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
- Sat: 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
- Sun: 11:00 am - 12:30 pm
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