John Dillinger Slept Here by Paul Maccabee

Books, Movies & Links

Saint Paul's notorious gangster past of the 1930's is captured in the following links, books and movies.

This parade of public enemies is well documented by local crime historian Paul Maccabee in John Dillinger Slept Here. Simply put, the gangsters knew they were safe in St. Paul by dint of a notorious deal with the St. Paul Police Department, headed by Chief John O’Connor. It went essentially like this: you’re welcome to visit and enjoy the pleasures of our city. Just let us know you’re here and don’t bother us once you pull in. Thugs arriving from Chicago, Texas, Reno, and elsewhere contacted go-betweens at the police department. Bribes changed hands, and the crooks avoided harassment as long as they kept their noses clean. 
As much as anyone, Maccabee deserves credit for resurrecting the history of the period. Beginning more than 25 years ago, when he was a journalist with the Twin Cities Reader, Maccabee began researching Twin Cities crime and corruption during Prohibition and into the Depression. Hundreds of interviews, and 100,000 pages of FBI files later, Maccabee published Dillinger Slept Here, which remains the bible of St. Paul gangster studies.

Additional links:

Crime Capital
In the ’30s, St. Paul was the hideout of choice for America's most infamous gangsters
Minnesota Monthly April 2007
By: Tim Brady

St. Paul's Gangster Era
3:AM Magazine
By: Robert O'Connor

John O'Connor and the O'Connor Layover System:
The Beginnings of a Gangster Era

Saint Paul Streets

Gangsters Left a Mark in Minnesota
Star News
By: Joni Astrup


Saint Mudd
By: Steve Thayer
A classic gangster novel. Saint Mudd is the haunting story of a dying columnist for a dying newspaper in city wallowing in the Great Depression. St. Paul during the 1930s is home to gangsters like John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson, and Ma Barker s boys thriving on a booming economy of prostitution, kidnapping, and robbery. Grover Mudd, the city's premier reporter, wants nothing more than to put them away forever. But in a city that has the best politicians and police money can buy, Mudd suspects his efforts will lead to a big fat zero. But even a seasoned pro like Grover Mudd, who is certainly no saint, can t get used to all the dead bodies.

Haunted St. Paul
By:  Chad Lewis
From the phantom pig at the Minnesota State Fair to the ghostly gangsters of the Wabasha Street Caves, St. Paul bristles with haunted history. Let the spectral usher of the Mounds Theatre show you to your seat as Chad Lewis reveals why the bits of St. Paul's past that insist on intruding on the present deserve to have their stories told. By the time the lights come back on, you will be convinced that sometimes the strangest things have happened in the dorm room upstairs...or the table next to you at your favorite restaurant...or even in your own backyard.

Dillinger Slept Here
By:  Paul Maccabee
This book is based on more than 100,000 pages of FBI files and wiretaps, prison and police records, and mob confessions. Interviews with 250 crime victims, policemen, gun molls, and family members of criminals bring these public enemies to life. Crime historian Paul Maccabee takes you inside the bank robberies, gangland assassinations, and police intrigue of St. Paul's 1920s and1930s gangster era. You'll also find Crooks' Tour maps and more than 130 rare FBI, police, and family photographs.

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