Gangsters in St. Paul?

St. Paul is known for being a quiet city with a small town feel. However, that wasn’t always the case. In the early 20th century, we had a national reputation as “the poison spot of American crime.” (Maccabee, p.250) We were a haven for some of the most famous crooks and criminals in the country thanks to the O’Connor System.

John O'Connor
John O’Connor during the height of his power in St. Paul, c.1912. Courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society

John J. “The Big Fellow” O’Connor (1855-1924) was the Chief of Police from 1900-12 and then again from 1914-20. (It was a politically appointed position, so as mayors came and went, so might the police chief.) He was a big man with a big personality, and he believed that the best way to control crime was to work with the criminals instead of against them. “If they behaved themselves, I let them alone,” he [O’Connor] admitted. “If they didn’t, I got them. Under other administrations there were as many thieves here as when I was chief, and they pillaged and robbed; I chose the lesser of two evils.” (Maccabee, p.9). Working with him was his brother Richard O’Connor, the Democratic Party boss, a police commissioner, and a sometime city alderman.

John O’Connor set up the ‘Layover Agreement.’ Any crook who visited the city would remain unmolested if they followed three rules:

  1. Checked in with the police on their arrival.
  2. Made a ‘donation.’
  3. Promised to commit crimes only outside the city limits.

St. Paul became a place where criminals lived free. As time went on the Agreement expanded beyond the police department and encompassed the entire St. Paul justice system, as well as a good portion of Ramsey County’s. It became not only almost impossible to convict a major criminal in St. Paul, but the city refused extradition to other jurisdictions as well. Law enforcement even went so far as to tip criminals off if they were being hunted.

This was a great deal for the citizens of St. Paul. Not only did crooks refrain from committing felonious acts within the city limits, but they also policed their own. All sorts of crime was way down in the city, because the major criminals didn’t want anything to threaten their sweet deal.

St. Paul also benefited financially, well beyond the ‘donations’ to those in the criminal justice system. The city became a center for all of the business surrounding big crime. There was a thriving economy (only sometimes underground) in criminal planning, the fencing of goods, money laundering, providing the tools of crime, and entertaining criminals living high on the hog, not to mention prostitution and, during Prohibition, bootlegging. Citizens thrilled at rubbing elbows with well-known criminals on an evening out.

The rest of the state and the Midwest were not so happy. Surrounding communities tried various schemes to keep their crime rates down, but they varied in effectiveness. Crime rates outside St. Paul skyrocketed, especially after the country-wide explosion of villainy that Prohibition and bootlegging initiated. With illegal fortunes being made in alcohol, and the lack of support for Prohibition from ordinary citizens (the word scofflaw was coined during America’s Big Dry Spell), policing the new lawbreakers became increasingly difficult all over, and relatively minor criminals became celebrities, who then moved on to more serious crimes like bank robbery and kidnapping. Many of them spent at least some time in St. Paul.

The Agreement worked well (for St. Paul) for decades, partially because of self-interest, partially because of a web of informants and overseers maintained by the criminal element and police working together, but also due to the personal and careful control exerted by the iron hand of Police Chief O’Connor. There were stories of him ‘inviting’ criminals who didn’t follow the rules into his office and ‘persuading’ them that it was in their best interest to amend their behavior. When O’Connor retired in 1920, his system stayed stable for a while, but then started fraying. The crooks, with the looming loss of income from the end of Prohibition (1933), became bolder and their crimes bigger.

The beginning of the end really came with the kidnapping of two prominent St. Paul businessmen from inside the city limits. The Barker-Karpis gang kidnapped William Hamm, Jr, owner of Hamm brewery and held him June15-19, 1933 and Edward Bremer, banker, held Jan 17-Feb 7 1934. The Gang was thumbing its collective nose at the Agreement, as well as serving notice that not even the wealthy and powerful were safe anymore. Amid long-time and growing demands to clean up the city, with Howard Kahn, editor of the St. Paul Daily News at the forefront, affluent citizens finally demanded a crack-down, and put together a fund to hire a criminal science expert to bug the new police headquarters.

The results were astounding. After spending the spring of 1935 gathering overwhelming evidence of police corruption and collaboration with the criminal element, the scandal erupted over the front pages of the St. Paul Daily News in June. 13 policemen, many of them high ranking, were either suspended or dismissed, and the Police Chief was forced to resign. The clean-up effort spread throughout the criminal justice system, and safeguards were put in place to make it very difficult for such a system to ever arise again.

Landmark Center-Old Federal Building
The Landmark Center, formerly the Federal Building. Courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society.

The FBI, under J. Edgar Hoover, had previously been unable to crack the O’Connor system, and not for lack of trying. With the Hamm and Bremer kidnappings, they were able to successfully chase down and arrest or kill members of the Barker-Karpis gang with the help of influential victims from inside the city who were willing to talk. St. Paul’s corruption scandal widened the FBI’s access and gave them the Dillinger gang. The FBI prosecuted criminals in a parade of high-profile trials that took place at the Federal Building, now the Landmark Center, where you can visit the famous courtrooms.

If you’re interested in knowing more about the gangsters, you should take the St. Paul Gangster Tour. From their website:  “Our famous crook’s tour! Explore with us the sites of nightclubs, kidnappings, and gun battles associated with the 1930’s gangsters like John Dillinger, Ma Barker and Babyface Nelson. See the sights where the gangsters lived it up as they planned and executed some of the most notorious crimes ever perpetrated in the upper Midwest. Your guide takes you past the most infamous gangster hideouts and the famous nightclubs where many gangsters spent time socializing with the public.” Reservations are required.

Further Information:

Maccabee, Paul. John Dillinger Slept Here: A Crooks’ Tour of Crime and Corruption in St. Paul, 1920–1936. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1995. Highly recommended; it’s fascinating.

There is also the self guided “John Dillinger Slept Here” tour put together from the definitive book about St. Paul’s Gangster era:  John Dillinger Slept Here:  A Crooks’ Tour of Crime and Corruption in St. Paul, 1920-1936 by Paul Maccabee. With this tour and Google maps’ street view, you’re able to take a tour from your own living room.

1919 Yearbook – John J. O’Connor, St. Paul’s Chief of Police
This is taken from Souvenir Book, St. Paul Police Benevolent Association, 1919, a 1919 publication.
I’m fascinated by the fact that this came out at the height of O’Connor’s power, was written by people who were close to the police department and must have known about the rampant corruption, and yet is so wholeheartedly supportive of O’Connor. It’s also so carefully written that, even though a few things are probably tweaked, and some of it is undoubtedly seen through rose-colored glasses, there don’t seem to be many (if any) outright lies. If you know what’s going on, some statements read very differently than they would otherwise. “He developed a registry bureau for the identification of criminals that has been of the greatest benefit to St. Paul.” and “opposing “Organized crime with organized intelligence.” It’s a masterpiece. Calling John J. O’Connor “honest” is pushing it, however.

1904 Souvenir Book – The Police Commissioners
This is taken from Souvenir Book, St. Paul Police Benevolent Association, 1904, a 1904 publication.
A little more about Richard O’Connor.


Published in: on April 30, 2017 at 6:08 pm  Comments (2)  

The Lasting Legacy of the Irish in St. Paul

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, we’re going to explore a little of the significant impact the Irish have had on St. Paul’s, and indeed Minnesota’s, cultural, political, and religious life. A legacy you can experience during your visit to the B&B.

Edward Phelan, John Hays, and William Evans (all Irishmen) were among the early soldiers stationed at Fort Snelling. When they were discharged in 1938, they bought land in and around what would become downtown St. Paul (which was incorporated in 1849).

View of St. Paul 1851
View of St. Paul, 1851. Joel Emmons Whitney. Daguerreotype. Minnesota Historical Society

Later, Hays was the victim in the city’s first murder. One of his countrymen, Edward Phelan, was accused of the murder, but released for lack of evidence. Eventually, Phalen Creek and Lake Phalen were named after him.

John Ireland
Archbishop John Ireland (1838-1918). 1908. Golling Studio. Minnesota Historical Society

Irish immigrant John Ireland, appointed Archbishop of St. Paul in 1888, was hugely influential in the city as well as the whole of Minnesota. He was responsible for the building of the Cathedral of St. Paul as well as the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis.

Cathedral of St. PaulCathedral of St. Paul by Ryan Claussen is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.
Basilica Minneapolis
Basilica of St. Mary by Bobak Ha’Eri is licensed under CC-By-SA-3.0.

He was also responsible for starting the University of St. Thomas, one of the finest universities in a state rich with them. These are all beautiful places, and well worth a visit.

Archbishop Ireland also headed an ambitious program of Irish Catholic colonies around Minnesota, with the goals of increasing the state’s Catholic population and offering a new life to his fellow countrymen suffering the ravages of famine and civil unrest in Ireland. This included setting up a community of farms, with houses, seed, equipment, and household goods available at good rates and on credit to give them a good start. Also provided was instruction on how to farm the prairie sod, which would have been very different from farming in Ireland, if the new colonists had been farmers at all.

For the most part, this was very successful, but there were occasional failures, as with the Connemara group of Graceville in 1880. They were fishermen back home who not only seemed to have no desire to be farmers, but also had to contend with the unbelievably harsh winter of 1880-1 (immortalized in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s The Long Winter). Most of them were eventually resettled in St. Paul in the Connemara Patch, cheek by jowl with the more notorious Swede Hollow in Dayton’s Bluff, where they stayed until the railroad came through and moved them out in 1908. Here’s a tour brochure of Dayton’s Bluff that includes the Connemara Patch, as well as other beautiful and historic landmarks.

Swede Hollow 1910
Swede Hollow looking north, c.1910. Minnesota Historical Society

James J. Hill, a man of Irish heritage, came to St. Paul in 1856 with nothing, and through hard work and business acumen attained vast wealth as a railroad baron. A great believer in philanthropy, on both the small and large scale, he worked with Ireland on a number of projects, helping fund what Ireland envisioned. Although not Catholic himself, his wife, Mary, was, and she gave a great deal of money to the building of St. Paul’s glorious new cathedral.

James J. Hill. 1902. Pach Brothers. Mary Mehegan Hill, c.1910. Minnesota Historical Society

He built a series of houses in the swankiest parts of town, ending with his magnificent mansion on Summit Avenue, complete with pipe organ, art gallery, and boiler from a train engine for heating and hot water. It’s well worth a tour, and it’s only a couple of blocks from the Cathedral, and within walking distance from the B&B.

James J. Hill House 2013
James J. Hill House, 2013
by McGhiever is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

When you visit us, take the opportunity to check out some of these landmarks which help document the importance of Irish people in the history of St. Paul.


Valentines Day – In the Mood for Romance?

Looking for fun ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your loved ones? Here are some ideas, ranging from the traditional – a lovely meal or dancing – to the unusual – snowshoeing or Victorian poetry, anyone?

HDR – Sunken Garden Como Park Conservatory by Jucadima is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Enchanted Evening – A Valentine’s Dining Experience at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory

Though February 14th is sold out, they’ve added a seating on the 13th for this romantic candlelit dinner among the indoor gardens of St. Paul’s lush conservatory. String music, limited wine and beer, and animal ambassadors will enhance your experience, as will the opportunity to bask in the humidity and warmth in the midst of a dry St. Paul February.

February 13, 2017, 8:00 pm
$170 per couple, all-inclusive.
Register online.

If you want to make Valentine’s a full day experience, or enjoy the atmosphere of the conservatory and have dinner elsewhere, there are other events during the day, including the Winter Flower Show, and a chance to meet the conservatory’s gardeners at 1:00.

Como Park Zoo & Conservatory
1225 Estabrook Drive, Saint Paul, MN 55103
Winter Hours:  10-4

Sleigh Ride by Bill Burris is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Three Rivers Park District Valentine Programs

Looking for something a little unusual to do with your loved ones? Maybe something outdoors? The Three Rivers Park District offers events ranging from Candlelit Trails to a Victorian Valentine’s Dinner to a Valentine’s Snowshoe Hike to a Lovebirds’ Local Foods Dinner and Sleigh Rides. All their events but one (which is sold out) are happening the weekend before Valentine’s Day, so you could choose off Three River’s menu and do something on the day, if you want to make an extravaganza of the holiday this year.

Three River Parks District is in Hennepin County, so a little bit of a drive from the B&B, but well worth it. Check out the webpage for more information on individual events.

Big Bay Ballroom – Salsa Spice
by Port of San Diego is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Valentine’s Day Dance

“Love is in the air, so join us for a special night of ballroom dancing with The Dancers Studio Family! Includes complimentary glass of champagne at the door, dessert and cash bar throughout the evening.

“FREE Beginning Salsa Class @ 7:00pm

“Both singles and couples welcome!”

$15 per person
Purchase tickets online.

Dancers Studio
415 Pascal St. North, St. Paul, MN 55104

MR2.9 SP3.2qh r8
James J. Hill House, circa 1895, courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society

Victorian Poetry Slam

“Celebrate Valentine’s Day the old-fashioned way by enjoying classic 19th century poetry in the James J. Hill House drawing room. Actors Craig Johnson, Laura Salveson and Ann Daly, wearing 1890s eveningwear, will perform a wide range of humorous and stirring poems by Dickinson, Poe, Longfellow, Browning and more dealing with love, romance, temperance, sports and war—even poems about James J. Hill! Audience members are also invited to bring a short Victorian poem to read aloud throughout the evening.”

Tue., Feb 14, 2017, 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
$12/$10 MNHS members

James J. Hill House
240 Summit Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55102
(7 blocks from the B&B.)

lgbt-lobby-day-2006OutFront justFair LGBT Lobby Day 2006 by Tony Webster is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Land of 10,000 Loves

“Historian Stewart Van Cleve blends oral history, archival narrative, newspaper accounts and fascinating illustrations to paint a remarkable picture of Minnesota’s queer history. Van Cleve will present from his book “Land of 10,000 Loves: A History of Queer Minnesota,” which explores the sacrifices, scandals and victories that have affected and continue to affect the lives of queer Minnesotans.

“Stewart Van Cleve is a former assistant curator of the Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies at the University of Minnesota.”

Tue., Feb 14, 2017, 10:30 am – 11:30 am
$5/$3 MNHS members

Minnesota History Center
345 W. Kellogg Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55102
(1.1 miles from the B&B, and easily busable.)

However you decide to spend Valentine’s Day, have fun, be safe, and celebrate all the love in your life.

Welcome to our Holiday Home

One of the joys of a grand house like the B&B is decorating it for the holidays. It shows off even less-than-elegant ornaments to great effect. Our family has lived in this house since 1978, and we have decades of holidays to look back on and traditions to cherish.


We’ve always put up a plethora of lights around the house; there’s nothing like fairy lights to cheer up winter evenings. In the past we’ve used a mix of of colored and white lights,  but have veered towards mostly white more recently. Another trend has been the introduction of poinsettias and, more recently, greenery.


We’ve also made a habit of stringing lights in the houseplants. The blend of lights and foliage is not only beautiful, but a look that gracefully complements our Victorian home.


Our one nod to more playful lights has traditionally been around the Inglenook mantel. We used to hang Santa lights, but have recently switched to poinsettias, which gleam beautifully on the rich woodwork.


The last concentration of indoor lights is, of course, on the tree.


Decades ago we cut down two 8 or 9 foot trees, one for the front hall and one for the parlor. However, with everyone grown up and moved away, we now purchase a more modest table-top tree that decorates the parlor beautifully, showcases a fine selection of ornaments, and allows plenty of room for our guests.


Also in the parlor is our village, something Katy started collecting after most of the children had moved out of the house. Collecting ceramic houses with seven active children is just asking for trouble, after all.


We added various buildings for about a decade, along with accessories, and the lit up display adds considerable charm.


A much longer-standing ceramic display is the creche, cherished more for its sentimental value and family history, than for religious symbolism.


This set was meticulously hand-painted by a great-aunt, and the children vied to set it up on the built-in buffet every year.


Cradled by beautiful woodwork, illuminated by white lights, and reflected in mirrors, this sumptuous creche glows. It has also survived a rambunctious family fairly well, with some gluing necessary, but amazingly few lost parts.


Last, but certainly not least, are the smaller decorations we’ve traditionally displayed throughout the house. From an example of the years when Katy and Bill decided they wanted ornaments from their children for Christmas,


to the dolls hand-sewn by Katy, designed to mirror the family structure. (Eventually a set was given to each child to decorate their own homes.)


From the light-up tree from Dayton’s that has adorned up the living room since the 1980s,


to the Swedish-style Santa that I don’t know much about, except that it’s been around as long as I have and came from Katy’s side of the family.

One of the great benefits of running a B&B is getting to share our family home with others, and we’re happy to welcome you into some of the Gray holiday traditions.




Published in: on December 15, 2016 at 6:55 am  Leave a Comment  
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Celebrate the Holidays with Bells On

If you’re visiting us during the Holidays, here are some fun events that might tickle your fancy.


1. Ole and Lena’s Family Christmas

“Christmas and the holidays has always been Lena’s absolute favorite time of the year, even if, as Ole says “it makes her more than a little loopy.”

“As usual, Lena has invited her whole family, to include her snooty cousin Mildred who’s, in the past has been off on to many exotic vacations too to attend. Ole really wants nothing to do with the whole thing, especially the part when Lena dresses him dress up in the old ratty Santa suit to hand out presents. But, he may have hope if Sven can come up with a scheme to get him out of playing Santa? Will Lena be able to keep it all together while she prepares for the family Christmas? And will Sven come through with a plan? Find out in this hilarious holiday comedy about life, love, family and growing old together.”

Thu, Dec 15, 2016
2:00 PM

Burnsville Performing Arts Center
12600 Nicollet Avenue
Burnsville, MN 55337

Prices: $20.00  Reserved Seating


2. St. Mary’s Orthodox Cathedral Choir – Russian Christmas Nativity Concert

“St. Mary’s Cathedral Choir will present a concert of hymns from the Orthodox Church’s Vigil and Divine Liturgy for Christmas. Hymns will be sung in Church Slavonic, the liturgical language of the Russian Orthodox Church, and in English. The concert will end with traditional hymns and carols from Eastern Slavic countries and regions.”

Sun, Dec 18, 2016
5:30-6:30 PM

The Museum of Russian Art
5500 Stevens Avenue S.
Minneapolis, MN 55419

$15 – Members
$20 – General Admission


3. Holiday Follies with Le Cirque Rouge Cabaret & Burlesque Show!

“LCR celebrates its 14th annual Holiday Follies variety show, and continues a long tradition of irreverent, sexy, top-rated musical performances! Known for their vaudevillian comedy, and song and dance since 2003, features their critically acclaimed live jazz band, and world-class, triple-threat singers, dancers, and performance artists!”

Sat, Dec 17, 2016
7:00 PM doors open
8:00 PM show starts

Amsterdam Bar and Hall
6 West 6th Street (6th & Wabasha)
Saint Paul, MN 55102

$20 General Admission Advance
$25 General Admission Door
$65 Table for 2
$125 Table for 4

21 and over


4. Holiday at the Dunsmore Lodge with Connie Evingson

“Jazz vocalist Connie Evingson is known for taking divergent musical paths. Her recorded catalog of acclaimed CD’s ranging from jazz and Broadway standards to the music of Peggy Lee, the Beatles, Django Reinhardt, Dave Frishberg, Norman Gimbel and more reflects an adventurous spirit that knows no boundaries. She has been a guest artist at Jazz at Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsalis, Michael Feinstein and Vince Giordano, Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion, the Minnesota Orchestra and Toronto Symphony conducted by Doc Severinsen, the JazzMN Orchestra and Vocalessence, among others. Her ten CD’s on Minnehaha Music have all charted in the Top 50 in the U.S. and Canada and can be heard on radio stations around the world. All the Cats Join In, her third CD in the “jazz manouche” style popularized by Django Reinhardt, features John Jorgenson and his Quintet and was released in Oct., 2014.

“Whether singing bebop, bossa nova, big band swing or a ballad, Connie’s voice is readily identifiable – sure in pitch, a tad smoky in places, razor sharp in articulation and exhibiting an inherent sense of swing that’s dead-center in the pocket. Nominated as JazzWeek Vocalist of the Year in 2005 alongside Stacey Kent, Madeleine Peyroux, Tierney Sutton and Curtis Stigers, Connie has been featured on the Smithsonian’s Jazz Singers radio series, NPR’s Fresh Air and Weekend Edition, and is included on numerous compilations discs in the U.S., China and Japan. She is a two-time recipient of both the McKnight Fellowship for Performing Musicians and the Minnesota State Arts Board Artist’s Initiative Grant.”

Dec 28th & 29th, 2016
7:00 PM

Crooners Lounge and Supper Club
161 Highway 65 Northeast
Minneapolis, MN 55432
(763) 571-9020

Show:  $15.00 ($16.52 w/service fee)

Dinner & Show:  $40.00 ($42.39 w/service fee)

Choice of Side Salad & Entrée (Peppercorn Grilled Sirloin, Pan-Seared Chicken, Eggplant Parmesan) Upgrades: (Salmon or Pork Chop, $5; Walleye or NY Strip, $8; Crab Cakes, Ribeye or Tenderloin, $12.)


5. Holiday’s Salsa Explosion “Extravaganza” 2016 (Twin Cities Salsa Asssocation)

“MUSIC Guest DJs
Sala~Bachata~Merengue~Cumbia~Timba~Cha Cha & More …

Best In the City … T…BALLROOM

* Nice Ballroom and Dance floor
* 6 hours of Dancing Music
* Dress to impress
* Free Parking”

Sat, Dec 17th, 2016
7 PM – 1 AM
Complimentary Dance Lesson 7:15 PM

DoubleTree by Hilton Minneapolis – Park Place
1500 Park Place Boulevard
Minneapolis, MN 55416

$10.00 in Advance
$15.00 At the Door


6. New Year’s Eve 2017 w/ the TIM Sigler Band

“The NYE tradition lives on!! Celebrate the arrival of 2017 w/ the Tim Sigler Band on Saturday, December 31st in downtown St. Paul @ the Eagle Street Grille (Right across the street from the Xcel Energy Center.)

“Shows at the Eagle Street Grille generally sell out fast, especially when the MN Wild are in town, so we highly encourage you to reserve your spot online ASAP.

“Admission to this year’s NYE event includes complimentary domestic tap & rail drinks from 8-9PM, plus there will also be a complimentary champagne toast at Midnight to ring in the new year. Live music with the Tim Sigler Band will start at 9:30PM and go until 1:30AM.

A limited number of hotel rooms are also available across the street at the Holiday Inn if needed @

Sat, Dec 31, 2016
9:30 PM

Eagle Street Grille
174 7th St W
Saint Paul, MN 55102

$17.50 – $25.00


7. The Brave New Workshop’s 2016 Holiday Revue: What the Elf?!

“Our blockbuster holiday shows are well known at the Brave New Workshop, and this year we have more material than ever to draw upon.

““The 2016 Holiday Show” will feature BNW cast members Lauren Anderson, Denzel Belin, Ryan Nelson, Taj Ruler and Tom Reed. The show will be directed by Caleb McEwen. Josie Just will be the music director, and Matthew Vichlach will provide technical direction.

“The Brave New Workshop has been crafting audacious, hilarious, and thought-provoking original comedy, improv and satire in Minneapolis since 1958 – longer than any other theatre in the U.S. Founded by the legendary Dudley Riggs, the Brave New Workshop is a truly unique place to laugh, learn, think, and play.”

Nov 11, 2016 – Jan 28, 2017

Brave New Workshop
824 Hennepin Avenue
Minneapolis, MN

$33 – $38 (with discounts for students, seniors, AAA members, and more)

Bringing a group? Planning a party? Family in Town? Awesome! Give the box office a call for a special offer just for you and your group: 612-332-6620


8. New Year’s Eve 2016 at Psycho Suzi’s

“The best tropical vacation in Minneapolis that money can buy! Go island hopping at Psycho Suzi’s and say goodbye to 2016.

“This New Year’s Eve, purchase a Polynesian Passport, which is your ticket for tasty appetizers, four island cocktails of your choosing, music provided by DJ Shane Kramer of Transmission Music, unlimited photo booth usage and obligatory champagne toast while we ring in 2017.”

Sat, Dec 31 – Sun, Jan 1, 2017
8:00 PM – 1:00 AM

Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge
2519 Marshall St NE
Minneapolis, MN 55418

Advance tickets:  $56.00 ($58.95 w/service fee)

Beer, Wine, Spirits
Hip Hop & Rap, Pop & Top 40

Minimum Age: 21
Kid Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


9. LaDanza New Years Eve Ballroom Gala

“Break out your dancing shoes and party attire and join us for a special evening. Dinner, ballroom dancing to live music with the Rod Cerar Orchestra, casino games & prizes, fun DIY photo zone. Come join us!

“Dinner options include Braised Short Ribs, Chicken Inwood, Thai Ginger Glazed Salmon and vegetarian option Butternut Tortellacia. Dessert is optional for a small additional fee. A cash bar will be available all evening.

“We feature live ballroom music including the Waltz, Tango, ChaCha, Foxtrot, Rumba, East & West Coast Swing, Mambo, Samba and Nightclub 2-step.

“For more information and a flyer email: or call Mary Pat Cumming 651-248-0752. LaDanza is a non-profit registered 501(c)(7) social club.”

Sat, Dec 31, 2016 – Sun, Jan 1, 2017
6:00 PM – 12:30 AM

Envision Event Center
484 Inwood Ave N.
Saint Paul, MN 55128

$95/per person 12/02/16 – 12/17/16

Enjoy, and have fun!




Published in: on December 15, 2016 at 2:15 am  Leave a Comment  
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Restful Rooms

We’ve renovated and updated our guest rooms and bathrooms. The result?


Restful and graceful rooms…


where the light plays softly on walls of charming and calming yellows,


and green-grays,


giving our rooms a fresh feeling and making our beautiful furniture and lovely art pop.






Comfortable to the eye, body, and mind.


And still indubitably Victorian.

Come stay, rest, and enjoy!

Published in: on October 27, 2016 at 12:57 am  Leave a Comment  
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Simply Elegant

We’ve been doing some renovations at the B&B, shedding some of our Victorian busyness and going for a more calming, streamlined look.


Less wallpaper…

img_8594…more paint.


Fewer patterns…


…more color.


The result?


A soothing symphony of peaches, gray-greens, and creams…


…which delightfully offsets the beautiful woodwork, and allows it to shine.


One very subtle tone-on-tone brocade remains, adding a hint of Victorian elegance to stairwell…


…and inglenook.

Our Victorian mansion is still a jewel box of a house, just with a quieter sensibility that highlights its inherent grace and style. We invite you to visit us and experience our new look for yourself. Welcome!


Published in: on October 10, 2016 at 6:16 am  Leave a Comment  
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Our State Fair is a Great State Fair

If you’re visiting Cathedral Hill B&B through Sept. 5, Labor Day, and you like animals, rides, exhibitions, and great food, give the Minnesota State Fair a go. We’re pretty proud of it. We’ve got a few of the Fair’s main attractions highlighted below, but there’s a lot more to see and do in the Fair’s 320 acre spread. So bring your walking shoes, hat, sunscreen, and enthusiasm!

Along with the expected rides and games in the Midway & Kidway, there’s also plenty of other entertainment. The big name entertainers in the Grandstand require tickets, but there is also a multitude of free entertainment to enjoy throughout the Fair.

Midway night

Midway twilight

Food is another big State Fair draw. The list of new foods is eagerly awaited every year, and at least one of them is always on-a-stick. Offerings range from the all-you-can-drink-milk-for-$2 to classic pronto pups and mini donuts to fresh ice cream and baked goods to sit-down restaurant fare. Mmmm

As a largely agricultural state, the Minnesota State Fair is riddled with animals, farm equipment, and produce. Farmers from all over the state bring their animals in to compete for prizes in size, condition, conformation, and abilities. You can tour the barns and see the prize livestock, or watch the shows and competitions in the ring. You also don’t want to miss the Miracle of Birth Center.

Animals Sow & piglets 2

Animals Horses

Some of the agricultural exhibits are a little more unusual. The butter sculptures include portraits of State Fair Princess Kay of the Milky Way and her court, as well as other subjects. Watch a time lapse video of their creation, and see the completed statues and watch live carving in the Dairy Building.

Butter - cow moon

Crop Art is art made from seeds and other agricultural materials meticulously glued to a foundation to create detailed images. It’s quite a sight to see in the Agriculture Horticulture Building.

Seed Star Trek

Seed Starry Night

The State Fair also celebrates other Creative Activities, including needlework, canning and baking (which is look-don’t-taste, unfortunately), quilting, woodworking, stained glass, and other hand work. This may sound not-so-interesting, but the quality of work is amazing, and the types of displays are only limited by the maker’s imagination. Some of it is incredible, and, frankly, hard to believe. Find it all in the Creative Activities Building.

Creative - Quilt

Creative - Necklace

Creative - Baking

But it’s not all Crop Art and Creative Activities. There’s also an entire building dedicated to the juried Fine Arts competition, including drawing and painting, sculpture, textiles, and photography. Enjoy creative expressions from artists all over Minnesota. Many of the works displayed are for sale.

Fine Dolls

Fine ShipFine General

The Fair’s website is the place to go for more information about the Great Minnesota Get Together (and there is an app for that), including ticket information and park & ride. We’d recommend busing part or all of the way, as parking is challenging, to say the least. The Fair is two buses away from the B&B.

Have fun!

Published in: on August 30, 2016 at 8:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

Breakfast in Historic Style

The B&B is making some changes to how we serve breakfast. In order to give our guests more flexibility, we’re now offering two options in both menu and service.


We’re still serving our delicious hot breakfast in the dining room with a choice of sweet or savory, both chef’s choice. Both options always include a range of sides, including meat, our special granola, and fruit, and beverages, such as juice, coffee, and tea. Check out the breakfast menu page on our website for a more complete listing.

This is a full service breakfast, served at 8:30 every morning.


If this doesn’t meet your needs, we’re also offering a self-serve breakfast option from 6-10 am. This includes our special homemade granola, Greek yogurt, milk, juice, and a variety of hot drinks. Check our breakfast menu page for more details.

Because this breakfast is self-serve, you have your choice of dining locations, including


the parlor, where the buffet is set up,


the table on our grand porch,


and, if you like your dining a little more casual, our more relaxed porch seating area.

The porch comes with some great views up and down our historic and very green avenue.



So when you come visit us, let us know which breakfast option works for you, as well as any food sensitivities or allergies. We’re here to help, and make you as comfortable as we can.

Enjoy, and bon appetit!

Published in: on June 27, 2016 at 4:06 am  Leave a Comment  

Fit for Your New Easter Bonnet

If you’re visiting the B&B over Easter, you might want to go out for a lovely, leisurely brunch. Here are some excellent options.

The St. Paul Hotel has two restaurants, and thus two Easter brunch offerings, one a bit posher than the other, but both equally delicious and with top-flight service.

Galaxy Easter eggs

St. Paul Grill

The first is the grande dame of Easter brunches upstairs in the St. Paul Grill, complete with live music and six lavish food stations – Salads, Seafood ice display for shrimp, Carvery, Entree and vegetable station, Breakfast station, and the Pastry chef’s grand dessert display.

10:00 am – 2:00 pm
St. Paul Hotel, 350 Market St, St. Paul, MN 55102
$45.00 per person • $19.00 per child, age 4-10 • children under 3, free. (Brunch is Pre-Paid.) Price includes service charge and tax, and two free hours of parking at Lawson ramp (between St. Peter Street and Wabasha on 5th Street).
Reservations: Online or at 651-228-3860

Easter chicks

M ST. Cafe

Downstairs in the M ST. Cafe is an elegant buffet with hot and cold sideboards overflowing with sumptuous offerings.

9:00 am – 3:00 pm
St. Paul Hotel, 350 Market St, St. Paul, MN 55102
$29.95 per person • $12.95 per child, age, 4-10 • children 3 and under, free. Includes up to two free hours of parking at Lawson Ramp (between St. Peter Street and Wabasha on 5th Street).
Make your reservation online or call 651-228-3855.

Egg tree

Kincaids – St. Paul

Offering a special Easter brunch menu, Kincaids, located downtown, offers elegant dining and wonderful food.

11:00 am – 3:00 pm
380 St. Peter Street #125, St. Paul, MN 55102
Price range – $30-$60 (according to, includes validated parking for 2 hours in the Lawson Commons Ramp
Reservations: Online or call 651-602-9000

Peep hat

Fabulous Ferns

They offer an expansive array of breakfast and lunch items to please all pallets, including a variety of traditional brunch items, both hot and cold, as well as special Easter items.

10:00 am – 3:00 pm
400 Selby Ave. St. Paul, MN 55102
Adults $17.95, Seniors $15.95, Children 12 and under $7.95
Reservations: 651.225.9414

Dyed Eggs

W. A. Frost

Featuring an extensive menu of eclectic, artisanal American cuisine served in a beautifully restored historic building, or on a beautiful patio (weather permitting).

10:30 am – 2:00 pm
374 Selby Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55102
Price range – $30-$60 (according to
Reservations: Online or call 651-224-5715

Chicks in hats

The Happy Gnome

The Happy Gnome’s upscale contemporary menu is made in-house daily to achieve the freshest quality possible, and is well-balanced to suit local Midwestern tastes and palates.

10:00 am – 2:00 pm
498 Selby Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55102
Price range – under $30 (according to
Reservations: Online or call (651) 287-2018

Whichever amazing option you choose, or if you choose something else entirely, enjoy!


Published in: on March 17, 2016 at 5:49 am  Comments (1)