Imagine walking down Central Avenue in downtown Hot Springs and seeing Al Capone or Lucky Luciano! If you were here in the 1930s and 1940s, it’s entirely possible you might have run into these notorious members of society, along with numerous other gangsters.
Hot Springs was widely known in the early to mid 1900s for its illegal gambling, wild nightclubs, bootlegging and even prostitution. “Everybody who was anybody came to Hot Springs. We were Vegas before there was a Vegas,” said Steve Arrison, Executive Director of Hot Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau. “There’s a great deal of interest in the time period.”
That interest has given rise to The Gangster Museum of America, located at 510 Central Avenue – directly across from Bathhouse Row. Visitors will be taken on a guided tour that features a roulette table from the famed Southern Club, vintage slot machines, exhibits dedicated to Capone and Owney “The Killer” Madden, weapons and bootlegging equipment. The tour ends with a documentary film exploring the infamous tunnels under Central Avenue. Admission is $12, and they are open 10-6 Sunday -Thursday and 10-7 Saturday and Sunday.
Beat the heat this summer and visit The Gangster Museum of America. Learn why even the mob considered Hot Springs Arkansas their favorite vacation spot! (I wonder if any of them stayed in a Hot Springs bed and breakfast???)