Peifer Finds Homes for Wandering Underworld
When gangsters finished paying their due to go-betweens like Dapper Dan Hogan, they needed a place to live. Since apartment search web sites were eighty years away, and many gangsters were unfamiliar with St. Paul’s real estate market, they relied on help from ‘fixers.’ One of the best fixers was Jack Peifer, owner of the Hollyhocks Club, a popular hangout for gangsters and ‘legit’ citizens alike. Peifer would set up newly-arrived gangster in a favorite apartment, often the Cle-Mar apartments on Cleveland and Marshall Avenues. These gangster homes were quickly set up with a telephone. The phone was a lifeline between the criminals and go-betweens like Hogan and underworld fixer Harry Sawyer. When police planned a raid on a gangster’s residence, they would be tipped off by a ‘friendly voice’ via phone, and usually had enough time to grab their belongings (and any evidence) and flee the scene.