The Wisconsin Road Guide to Gangster Hot Spots

Title: The Wisconsin Road Guide to Gangster Hot Spots 

Author: Chad Lewis 

Year Published: 2010 

Subject: History, Mafia, Wisconsin

Purchase Book:

Link to Google Map of all sites: 

I like these little road guides that Chad Lewis writes. He provides addresses, directions and the history of different locations, whether it's haunted locations, paranormal occurrences or in this case, gangster hideouts. There is a lot of mafia history in Wisconsin due to the proximity to Chicago and immigration through Milwaukee. This book is not about "Wisconsin" mobsters from Madison and Milwaukee but more so the out of state mobsters that would spend time in Wisconsin. Al Capone, John Dillinger, the Barker gang, Baby Face Nelson and many other famous gangsters spent time in Wisconsin. Some built vacation homes, owned resorts, cashed in on illegal alcohol sales, robbed banks and enjoyed the lack of law enforcement.  

It wasn't until I moved to the north woods of Wisconsin and started reading about the history of our area that I learned much more about gangsters in Wisconsin. I live in near a town that Al Capone would take the train from Chicago to, then travel by car to his hideout in Couderay, WI. I really liked that the author included sites all over Wisconsin and didn't just focus on Milwaukee or Madison. People from these bigger cities seem to forget that there is more to WI than where they reside. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in learning where in Wisconsin the gangsters from the 1920s-19030s would spend their time and money. Many of these hot spots are still functioning businesses today that you can visit and get a feel of what once took part in their history.  

Overall all, this is a very easy read, it's organized by site so it feels like short chapters. You could purchase as a travel book and plan vacations around these sites, honestly, several of the sites are hotels or bed and breakfast type places that you can stay right there. The majority of these sites are located in northern Wisconsin, which is known for outdoor recreation. It's a beautiful place and if you have never been, visiting gangster hideouts might be a good excuse to come and experience our history and landscape!