Saturday, July 16, 2005

Tommy Banks Stories or the Minneapolis' Mob Gunflint Connection

Rcently received the following question from Dan Nelson, son of the former owners of Clearwater Lodge -Dan ask, "does anyone have some good history about the gangster who had a cabin on Hungry Jack?What about other underworld stories? I have heard some resorts had slot machines back in the day. Would they have been legal?"

The "gangster" cabin Dan refers to is the former cabin of Tommy Banks, who was involved with the Minneapolis mob during the 1930-40's. The cabin is part of the Hungry Jack Lake Summer Home group three cabins east of Hungry Jack Lodge.

One of the stories I know about Tommy Banks was told to me by Billy Needham, before is death. Billy lived on Hungry Jack Lake for many years and took care of Tommy's cabin and was his fishing guide.

According to Billy on his first fishing trip out with Tommy and several of his bodyguards they were fishing out of a large canoe on Rose Lake when someone in the party hooked a very large northern. After a long battle with the fish it was finally brought up to the canoe. However, Billy upon see the fish realized it was too large to bring into the already crowded canoe and he started to pull out his hunting knife to cut the fish loose. With that Tommy's bodyguards all drew their pistols and dispatched the fish in a blase of bullets.

We are looking for more stories about Tommy Banks and other mob connections with the Gunflint. How about the alleged bootleggers trail from Canada down the old South Lake Trail coming out near Northwoods Lodge? Did the bootlegger really stay at the lodge's old log bunkhouse one night and the revenuers the next night? If you have any stories let us know.


At 12:50 AM, Blogger Quit Smoking said...

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At 7:30 PM, Blogger CarolAnn said...

I don't know if this will be helpful or not, but my father actually took care of Tommy Banks when he was an elderly man. He lived around Lake Calhoun. That was during the 1980's. I know that my father once told me about a picture he saw of Clark Gable and Carol Lombard with Tommy Banks. I think they were staying with him at his cabin.

At 7:40 PM, Blogger CarolAnn said...

My father took care of Tommy Banks when he was an elderly man. That was during the 1980's. He lived around Lake Calhoun. I remember one story my father told about Tommy Banks involving Carol Lombard and Clark Gable. Apparently they stayed at Tommy Banks' cabin and my father saw at least one of their pictures from this occasion. I grew up hearing a lot of stories about Mr. Banks. It was always entertaining.


Carol Ann- Thanks for the comment. If you have any other stories from your father about Tommy we would be real interested in them. Many of us on the Gunflint Trail have heard tales about Tom Banks and are familur with his cabin on Hungry Jack Lake.

At 5:19 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Carol Ann- We would be most interested in hearing more stories that you heard from your father about Tommy Banks. We now own that cabin on Hungry Jack Lake and are trying to gather as much info as we can about its history. Wish we could track down a copy of the photo you spoke of showing Clark Gable with Tommy Banks at the cabin.


Hello Carol Ann- There is a lot of history attached to the cabin you now own. I did not Tommy Banks but I did know Billy Needham quite well. Banks after in went to prison sold your cabin to Bob Bay who owned a bond company in Iowa. He also was almost sent away for investment fraud but somehow he weasel out of that one. However the next person to purchases your cabin Thorpe did end up in prison for tax evasion.

Please stop over and see us sometime when you are up to talk more about the characters that have owned Bank’s cabin over the years.

We have Poplar Creek Guesthouse B&B located 2 miles off the Gunflint along the Lima Grade then down the Little Ollie Road-the southeastern most bay of Poplar Lake

At 7:03 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks, we will stop in sometime this summer -probably in July and would love to hear any stories you have.

At 5:10 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Carol Ann
My husband, Don and your father Jim were friends in the 1980's and they both took care of Tommy Banks. Don would like to get in touch with your father. Don's e-mail is we are also in the phone book. Have lots of stories to share....


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