One of Minnesota’s most haunted places is an event hall in Saint Paul that used to be frequented by gangsters, and it’s a must-see in the Twin Cities.
For $6 (cash only), you can take a 45-minute tour of the historic Wabasha Street Caves, manmade sandstone caves that were built in the mid-1800s. There are seven caves that run parallel to each other, and they’re up to 100 feet below ground.
I took a tour of the caves in the summer after searching for things to do in Saint Paul, and I didn’t think twice about opting to do this one. With so much history and the opportunity to actually be in a place where gangsters used to hang out, Wabasha Street Caves easily made it onto my itinerary.
(There’s a bar in the caves!)
In the 1930s during the end of Prohibition, the caves were converted into an underground nightclub called Castle Royal, which remained open until 1940. Then the owners closed it down to swap over to mushroom farming because it was more profitable at the time.
Probably two of the coolest features of this tour are actually seeing and touching bullet holes and marks in the fireplace in one of the caves that were made by tommy guns, and that one of the caves is 54 degrees Fahrenheit. Depending on what kind of weather you’re used to, a light jacket might be helpful.
As for the bullet holes in the fireplace, they’re linked to a story where a killer shot three gangsters dead in the caves. The tour guide I had said some believe the gangsters may still be in the caves – which are on the National Register of Haunted Places – today.
When you go on this tour, be warned that cell reception will be spotty once inside, given how far below ground the caves are. No recording is allowed, either, as the tour is copyrighted.
Today, you can rent out the Wabasha Street Caves for private events, including banquets. But if you aren’t fazed by potentially haunted spaces, be sure to visit the place, where you’ll get to experience a place that was part of Saint Paul’s gangster history. (If you’re interested in learning even more about that, be sure to check out the city’s Landmark Center as well!) It’s really not a bad deal for $6.
You can also check here and here for more information about other tours offered. I’d recommend walking in the surrounding areas while you’re there, so that you can experience the nice feel of Saint Paul on foot, and maybe even stop by nearby places like Raspberry Island.