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Closing of the Wabasha St. Caves and Gangster Tours

Posted November 19, 2020 @ 8:00pm | by Doug

~~~ Tour Guide Notes ~~~

If there were a Minnesota Tourism Hall of Fame, Donna (photo) and Steve Bremer would likely be unanimous selections.

Since 1991, thanks to them, thousands of visitors have enjoyed the Wabasha Street Caves and Saint Paul Gangster Tours in the Capitol City.

Life comes with unexpected twists and turns.  Back then, when Steve needed a location for his construction company, he found the shuttered Wabasha Street Cave to his liking.  Soon, curious neighbors, aware of the cave’s history as a speakeasy during St. Paul’s notorious Gangster Era, stopped by, wondering if they could slip in for a peek. 

In time, the Bremers decided to monetize these “interruptions” into $2 admissions, and thus began one of the area’s most popular attractions. 

Then, another company, the Saint Paul Gangster Tours, asked permission to add their cave as a stop. Eventually, this led to the Bremers purchase of that business, followed now by decades of tours featuring guides dressed as Era characters like Ma Barker, John Dillinger, and other scoundrels from St. Paul’s infamous past.

“On one tour,” recalls Donna, “by the former Ma Barker home in West St. Paul, a well-meaning resident called the cops upon seeing our bus and a guy with a [faux] machine gun. Four squads quickly showed up to sort it out!”

Over the years, the Caves have also come to host weddings, anniversaries, corporate gatherings, and as a venue for the Great American History Theatre.  Steve added Grumpy Steve’s gift and coffee shop in the parking lot.

Lamentably, this wildly popular homage to Saint Paul’s colorful past has now come to an end, as the Bremers have announced their well-deserved retirement.  They leave behind great memories for multitudes of charmed tourists and residents alike. 

We thank them and wish them the very best in their next phase.


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