Hot Springs, AR is known for its heated springs, historic architecture, diverse art community, hiking, biking, festivals, and more – but gangsters? The concept seems pretty unlikely until you discover that, before there was Las Vegas, there was Hot Springs.
By the 1920s, Hot Springs had developed into a popular resort destination. Spas, gambling, horse racing, and the national park drew people from all around the country – and not all were upstanding citizens.
By the 1930’s and 40’s, illegal gambling, bootlegging, and prostitution had been added to the Hot Springs menu. Unregulated pastimes like these brought some famous – or perhaps infamous – faces to town. Figures like Owney “The Killer” Madden, Al Capone, “Lucky” Luciano, Bugs Moran, and Frank Costello.
Visiting the Gangster Museum
Hot Springs Gangster Museum provides a window back to the city’s wild years. Step back to a time when law enforcement officials were either one step behind or deep in the pockets of famed underworld figures. Master criminals who came to sample the forbidden pleasures Hot Springs provided.
Guided tours of the museum’s collections highlight the gangsters who frequented Hot Springs and the activities that attracted them. You’ll see things like a Thompson submachine gun in a violin case, Dillinger’s death mask, slot machines, and a bootleg liquor operation.
Tours of the 10,000 square foot museum last around an hour and may include a maximum of 25 participants.
The Gangster Museum of America
510 Central Ave Hot Springs, AR
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