First Crack 58. David Gotlieb, Paul Maccabee, and St. Paul’s Gangster History

John Dillinger Slept Here: A Crooks' Tour of Crime and Corruption in St. Paul, 1920-1936

In part 4 of a 6 part series on the life passions of Parsinen Kaplan Rosberg & Gotlieb’s partners and staff, David Gotlieb discusses St. Paul’s history as a safe haven for gangsters and how he met the expert on the subject – Paul Maccabee.

Listen to David Gotlieb, Paul Maccabee, and St. Paul’s Gangster History [15 min]

4 thoughts on “First Crack 58. David Gotlieb, Paul Maccabee, and St. Paul’s Gangster History

  1. My dad is Paul Maccabee and I think this is awesome I can’t wait to tell him this.

    If you want to know more about his book go to Google or

  2. My Grandfather was a bartender in the era, and serviced many spoken about in the book. Wonderful work!

  3. A Special Thanks:

    When I was a little boy, I used to listen to my grandfather’s stories about where he played as a young man during the 1920’s and the 1930’s. He was a sax player and played contemporary, dance, and jazz music with a band leader named Joy Bernie.

    Jews were not the most welcomed musicians in the twin cities area and most of their playing was confined to the less savory clubs – the places where the gangsters hung out. As he mentioned these places to me, it was all an abstraction because I knew nothing other than what he said and I knew very little about the history of St. Paul and Minneapolis. I had nothing to touch or feel or look at.

    But, I’ve always been fascinated with Minnesota’s gangster era and the 1930’s. About 8 years ago, I bought a book called: “Dillinger Slept Here” by Paul Maccabee. As I read, the names of the places he mentions rang a familiar note as these were the same places my grandfather played.

    Paul’s book brought my grandfather’s stories to full circle and I thought about that heavily when I stood across the street from what used to the Hollyhock’s Club. To walk on the southwest corner of Snelling and University where two small time hoodlums were shot to death and to realize this was where history was made.

    His writing style and pace make the book a hard one to put down – one wants to turn the next page to see what follows. Obviously, the book is not one of those dry history lectures. The tempo of the book is consistent taking one through a flight of our gangster era. I found myself saying ‘oh, one more page and then I’m going to bed’, the reality was measured in chapters, not pages.

    Our family has three connections to the gangster era – one being my grandfather, and the second is a great aunt who was one of Al Capone’s gun molls when he was in the area. She was given a gun by Capone and on the pearl handle was inscribed: With Love, from Big Al. The gun disappeared after she died and has never been found.

    Third, my father ran a paper route in the Grand and Lexington area when he was a young man. One day he walked into a barber shop and a man in the chair asked to buy a paper. He gave my father a dollar for a paper that cost maybe a nickel at most and told my father to keep the change. The next day my father returned and the barber asked him: Do you know who you sold a paper too yesterday? My father answered: No. The barber said: It was John Dillinger.

    Paul and I have communicated a couple of times – but, I never took the time to thank him for writing “Dilliger Slept Here”. This is that thanks. He took abstraction and made it reality for me.

    “Dillger Slept here” is one of those books one wants to read and reread – a two thumbs up.

    MJ Berglin

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