Gangster Museum of America
Hot Springs, Arkansas
Hot Springs was Las Vegas before there was a Las Vegas. It was where criminals of the 1920s, '30s, and '40s took their vacations, enjoying the city's mineral spas as well as its wide-open illegal gambling and prostitution. Hot Springs was run by Owen "The Killer" Madden, an exile from New York who ended up marrying the local postmaster's daughter. "He was a pillar of the community, really. A really nice fellah. Everybody here loved him," according to Robert Raines, who runs the Museum. "He never killed anybody after he left New York."
The Gangster Museum of America really is the Gangster Museum of Hot Springs. Exhibits have a decidedly local skew, and include slot machines and gaming tables from the more popular local casinos, weapons that belonged to The Killer, and a Victrola that was owned by the brother of Al Capone.