Researcher, Writer, and Content Creator trying to find my place within this world of words | Editor of Gangster Haven.

My name is Matt Reicher. I am a historical researcher and content creator looking to transition into digital nomad status. When I am not writing for my publication, I write about true crime, history, justice, and anything else that happens to be on my mind at the time.

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I am also the editor of Gangster Haven.

My three most popular articles:

Her death at the hands of an obsessed fan created nationwide anti-stalking laws

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Photo of actress Rebecca Schaeffer (via Reddit)

The death of a promising young actress at the hands of a stalker shocked the nation and led to changes in the law to provide legal protections against overzealous people looking to do them harm.

Rebecca Schaeffer’s story is proof that life isn’t always fair. As a young adult, she struggled to find a sustained foothold in the modeling world and eventually pivoted to acting. She excelled. After a co-starring turn in a popular but short-lived sit-com, she became a name on the mind of an increasing number of Hollywood producers and directors. …

Understand that you can either ‘pay now’ or ‘pay later’

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Photo by Jordan Whitfield on Unsplash

“There are two paths people can take. They can either play now and pay later, or pay now and play later. Regardless of the choice, one thing is certain. Life will demand a payment.”

~ John C. Maxwell

Many years ago, a school advisor I’d talked to no more than a couple of times gave me a powerful piece of simple wisdom. Had I put it into practice, it likely would’ve changed the course of my life.

If only I had actually listened.

While looking up at me from behind his desk, he said that life is designed to work one of two ways. You can either pay now and play later or play now and pay later. …

A push to help save a community by changing the proposed path of a freeway

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George H. Herrold, Director of City Planning for St. Paul from 1920–1952. (Courtesy of MNHS)

In the first half of the twentieth century, the automobile offered people a means to get further than they previously had faster than ever before. Leaders eventually recognized the need to create high-speed connected freeways throughout the country. To accomplish their goal, they bulldozed long-standing communities that they considered little more than blight.

Unfortunately, nothing was going to get in the way of “progress.”

Discussions about building a connecting roadway between Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota’s Twin Cities, began in the early 1920s and gained considerable momentum after World War II. Rapidly increasing automobile use post-war compelled city officials to consider ways to overcome traffic gridlock on city streets. …

Stillwater, MN pioneer that flourished despite multiple personal tragedies

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Susannah Tepass 1824–1889 (Courtesy of Yoerg Brewing)

A series of tragedies littered the timeline of the Northwestern Brewery during its more than fifty-year existence in Stillwater, MN. Throughout much of that history, the business remained viable under the watchful eye of brewster Susannah Tepass.

Born Susannah Burkhard on August 10, 1824, in Germany, Tepass emigrated to the United States with her parents in 1847 at the age of twenty-two. The family settled amongst fellow countrymen in Freeport, Illinois. It was here that she wed Norbert Kimmick in 1849 before moving north with her husband to Stillwater. Shortly after the couple became settled, Mr. Kimmick set up a distillery in the kitchen of their home on the corner of Third and Chestnut streets. …

Was she murdered or did she commit suicide?

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Photo of Barbara Winn (Courtesy of the Star Tribune)

Aaron Foster Sr. had often subjected his girlfriend Barbara Winn to mental and physical abuse during their tumultuous one-year relationship. By May 7, 1981, she’d finally had enough. Enough of the lies, enough of the abuse, and enough of living in fear. That night she told Foster to pack his things and leave her Maplewood, MN home. Winn went home a couple of hours later, and a fight ensued. Before the sun rose the next morning, she had died from a single bullet wound to the center of her chest.

The Background

Arguments that escalated to physicality were, unfortunately, nothing new. Winn’s three children each knew of the abuse that their mother suffered, as well as her neighbors, co-workers, family, and friends. A co-worker remembered Winn had once worn sunglasses at work to hide a black eye — one given to her when Foster threw a beer can at her face. Just one week before her death, Winn went to the hospital for injuries to her hand and wrist. …

The fatal last stand of “Ma” Barker and her son Fred

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Barker Cottage At Lake Weir — Courtesy FBI Official Records

In November 1934, two Barker-Karpis gang members, Kate “Ma” Barker and her son Fred found themselves in Florida hiding from federal authorities. They created the personas of Mrs. T.C. Blackburn and her son and set out to find a home on Lake Weir to rent. It was a chance for the two to get away from the hustle-and-bustle of city life, do some fishing, and look for the area’s legendary large alligator named Old Joe.

They soon became upstanding, law-abiding citizens of the community. All was well.

On January 8, 1935, FBI agents raided the Chicago, IL hideout of notorious gangster Doc Barker. After a short chase, he was arrested without incident. While searching the apartment, agents came upon scores of guns and ammunition, as well as a road map of Florida with Lake Weir circled in red ink. They assumed — correctly — that the gang was hiding out in the area and sent agents there to find out for sure. A man matching the description of Fred Barker was found — and soon after, the Barker hideout. …

From inane attraction while enjoying a free drink to underground destination for illegal alcohol

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Image via Evening bulletin. June 04, 1910, 3:30 Edition

In the earliest days of alcohol enforcement, from the moment that public officials began to author legislation to control liquor flow, people looked for ways to circumvent those rules. One example of this is through the use of ‘blind pigs.’

In the United States, near the midpoint of the nineteenth century, ‘blind pigs,’ also known as ‘blind tigers’ or ‘striped pigs,’ were public functions held in some variant of exhibition space that served alcohol. Event promoters promised attendees the chance to see a genuine sightless pig. …

Prohibition created incredible wealth and stature, but eventually led to an untimely end

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Photo of the Gleckman family (via Ben Maccabee at

Leon Gleckman was a dominant underworld figure in St. Paul, MN, during the height of the gangster era in the city. He was an incredibly bright and savvy man that gained his prominent status by helping friends win critical political appointments and highly coveted law enforcement positions. Gleckman also became the city’s undisputed king of the bootleggers.

Gleckman’s first significant foray into the business world came with his ‘St. Paul Recreation Company.’ Located in downtown St. Paul, MN, it comprised of a pool parlor, cigar stand, gym, boxing ring, and bowling alley in the building’s basement. …

A sad case of an innocent victim in the wrong place at the wrong time

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Photo of Oscar Erickson (via Bobbie Hundley at

“All of the sudden there was a burst of gunfire and bullets came whistling by.”

~ Arthur Zachman

One of the many unfortunate byproducts of the gangster era was that everyday people got caught in the cross-hairs of criminal behavior. When that happened, unsuspecting bystanders had their lives changed forever, or worse, saw their end due to a flurry of bullets. A person rarely had a second chance to be in the wrong place and the wrong time.

On December 16, 1932, twenty-nine-year-old Saint Paul, MN resident Oscar Erickson felt that his luck was finally making a turn for the better. After being unemployed for many months due to a bout with appendicitis, the former cook was finally going back to work. He’d taken a job selling Christmas wreaths door-to-door for a florist in the city and optimistically believed this small step in the right direction was the first one toward a better life for him and his 20-year-old wife, Delvina. …

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