Wabasha Street Caves

The Wabasha Street Caves is an event hall built into the sandstone caves located on the south shore of the Mississippi River in downtown Saint Paul, Minnesota.[1] The caves have been home to mobsters, speakeasies, and in more recent years have begun hosting a "Swing Night" on Thursday nights with live big-band music. The Wabasha Street Caves also provide historical tours of the sandstone caves in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Wabasha Street Caves
LocationSt. Paul, Minnesota
Coordinates44°56′08.67″N 93°05′12.89″W / 44.9357417°N 93.0869139°W / 44.9357417; -93.0869139Coordinates: 44°56′08.67″N 93°05′12.89″W / 44.9357417°N 93.0869139°W / 44.9357417; -93.0869139


The caves, which technically are mines because they are manmade, are carved out of sandstone and date back to the 1840s.[1] Throughout history the caves have been used for a number of different activities, including growing mushrooms, storage of food and belongings, music, and dancing.[2]

In the 1920s, the caves were used as a restaurant and nightclub venue known as the Wabasha Street Speakeasy.[1] The speakeasy was said to have been frequented by gangsters such as John Dillinger and Ma Barker, however there is no evidence that these visits occurred; thus, these stories are considered legend.[3]

On October 26, 1933, Josie & William Lehmann opened the Castle Royal, which was built into the side of the caves.[4] Castle Royal was closed in the late 1930s due to the start of World War II and went back to primarily being a place to grow mushrooms. Some time in the 1970s, Castle Royal 2 was opened as a venue for Disco music.[5] The caves have also been used as a place of storage for debris and belongings that were washed up from flooding. Some of these things can still be found in the caves today.


  1. ^ a b c "Touring Saint Paul's Street Caves". Ask This Old House. 2016-02-06.
  2. ^ Green, Doris. A Trails and Books Guide Minnesota Underground & the Best of the Black Hills Guide To Mines, Sinks, Caves, and Disappearing Streams, p. 56-57
  3. ^ Maccabee, Paul. John Dillinger Slept Here: A Crooks' Tour of Crime and Corruption in St. Paul, 1920-1936, p. 45
  4. ^ Strand Koutsky, Kathryn, Linda Koutsky, and Eleanor Ostman. Minnesota Eats Out: An Illustrated History
  5. ^ Lewis, Chad, and Terry Fisk. The Minnesota Road Guide to Haunted Locations, p. 237-241

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