The Lowry Hotel opened in 1927 and was 12 floors of pure glamour. An addition was made in 1930 to house a large Art Deco ballroom and the Lowry Lounge–a hot-spot for St Paul’s movers and shakers. The Lowry was also popular with some of the city’s most famous gangsters. 

Alvin “Creepy” Karpis was known to stay at the hotel often when he was working with Fred and Doc Baker between 1932 and 1933. In a strange twist, after the Barker-Karpis gang kidnapped the president of Hamm Brewing, William Hamm Jr., and made their initial ransom call, Hamm’s wife Marie called a meeting between herself, St Paul police, and brewery manager Billy Dunn at the Lowry. In the lounge of the hotel, they hatched a plan to nab the kidnappers and free Hamm from their control. Another notorious St. Paul goon, underworld boss and bootlegger Leon Gleckman, hid in a top-floor apartment at the Lowry while he recovered from his own kidnapping ordeal in 1931. 

The following account of a night in 1939 when Bugsy Siegel stayed at the Lowry is described in Paul Macabee’s book, John Dillinger Slept Here: “On December 4, 1939, Siegel was known to have stayed at the Lowry Hotel, at which time he attempted to make some sort of deal to have Joseph Schaefer and George Young released from Stillwater State Prison. These individuals were known killers of this Murder, Inc., who were sent to St Paul to murder another member of the Syndicate.”

More recently, people remember the hotel as the former home of the basement dance venue the Oz Nightclub in the 1970s and 1980s. After more than a decade of being boarded up at street level, the Lowry started to come alive again in 2013 when interest in opening a restaurant in the space was announced. After several hiccups, the building has undergone significant restoration work. Apartments fill the upper floors, and the lower levels are filled with office space and a restaurant. Plans are reportedly in the works to open a live music venue and rooftop restaurant or bar in the future as well.