Much of the information for this section came
from the article "Alias Kid Cann" by Paul Maccabee
that appeared in the November 1991 Mpls/St. Paul Magazine.
Maccabee is the author of
John Dillinger Slept Here: A
Crooks' Tour of Crime and Corruption in St. Paul, 1920-1936.
Also see the 1930s section of Police
Bootleggers flourished during Prohibition, and our local
Isadore "Kid Cann" Blumenfeld.
Blumenfeld was born in Romania on September 8, 1900, and
came to Minnesota via Canada in 1902. He married his
wife Lillian Lee (born 1904) on August 25, 1936; they had no children.
There are various explanations about his nickname:
- the Kid claimed his nickname was a boxing
- he was conveniently
"in the can" when his murders were being carried out
- USA Confidential: "because of his many trips
to the penitentiary"
From 1929 to 1933, Cann was involved in a bootlegging
operation that originated in New Orleans and Canada,
supplying the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. He was
indicted in New Orleans but he didn't show up for trial and
the charges were dropped.
On August 23, 1933, a federal grand jury in Oklahoma
City, Oklahoma returned a bill charging conspiracy to kidnap
oilman Charles Urschell against George "Machine Gun" Kelly
and others, including none other than Isadore Blumenfeld and
his buddy, Edward "Barney" Berman. It was thought that
Blumenfeld had been involved in distributing the ransom
money, but he was acquitted. He would be indicted
several times for bootlegging, but never spent a day in
jail. The Kid had a knack for
From his headquarters at the Flame Night Club on Nicollet
Avenue (aka Club Carnival),
Kid Cann ruled the Minneapolis underworld and made millions, much of which was used to bribe
local politicians, juries, and witnesses. Despite at least
three murders (including the murder of journalist Walter Liggett
in 1935 - see pictures from the
Minnesota Historical Society), a Mann Act indictment, and a charge of
defrauding the Twin City Rapid Transit Company of millions
during the switch from streetcars to buses, witness
intimidation and police payoffs kept him out of jail. By
1942, the FBI identified Kid Cann as "the overlord of the
Minneapolis, Minnesota underworld."
In her book Easy Street, Susan Berman describes the
return of her father, gangster David Berman, to Minneapolis
in 1934 after a stretch in Sing Sing.
He used [his brother's] base of gambling clubs to
start out with and then quickly took over the race wire
and the coin machines (slots and pinballs).
My father's group was composed of Jewish racketeers
called the Syndicate. They were on friendly terms
with the Combination, run by the Irish. The
Syndicate did the gambling, the Combination did liquor.
There was another group of Jewish mobsters led by Kid
Cann (Isadore Blumenfeld) which was a rival group to my
father's. They owned gambling spots, too.
When my father started to forge his own group with his
eastern backing, he opened many new gambling places,
bookmaking, cards, and craps. He even ran dance
My father's Syndicate ... contributed a great deal of
money to Mayor Marvin Kline's campaign. When Kline
won [July 1941], my father kicked out the rival group
led by Kid Cann and took over the gambling for the whole
Berman's victory was apparently short-lived. He
fought with the Canadian military during World War II, and
when he returned the election of Hubert Humphrey as Mayor of
Minneapolis meant that gambling was over in the city.
Berman moved to Las Vegas in 1945.
Kid Cann (center) after his acquittal in
the Walter Liggett murder (St. Paul Daily News)
In 1961 he was finally
convicted of "white slavery" and bribing a juror,
and sentenced to eight years in Leavenworth..
It came to light that he was the recipient of some Las Vegas
casino money. He
was paroled in 1964, and immediately went
to Florida with other mobsters to get rich quick buying real
estate in Miami Beach. They also dabbled in illegal stock
market deals and money laundering.
In a bizarre twist, he took on the
persona of "Dr. Ferguson" or "Fergie," a respectable
millionaire philanthropist, and insisted that people address
him as such. One explanation of the nickname is that he was
always forgetting something: "fergushen," in Yiddish.
A defender says that he paid his taxes and made his money
honestly by owning liquor stores and the gift shop at the
Sands Hotel in Las Vegas.
Where did Kid Cann live? Some say he
lived in St. Louis Park:
story mentions a secret escape route out of his house on
Cedar Lake Road, which he accessed when the cops came to
call and the Kid said "first let me get my coat."
- Robert Whalen says that in the 1950s he lived on
Glenhurst - he delivered his paper.
- Mert Dresser has this recollection from the early 1930s:
David (Doc) Blanchard and I had paper routes in
the Sunset Gables area near France Avenue. The very best
customer on my paper route was Kid Cann Blumenfeld. When
I collected on a weekly basis, should the maid come to
the door, I would simply say that I would come back
again. The reason was that Kid Cann, in addition to
paying for the paper, would give me all the change that
he had in his pocket. Then, at Christmas time, he would
give me a roll of bills. Both my mother and I were
shocked that he would give that many dollars to a paper
boy as a Christmas gift?
- William Taft, Sr. said Cann had a home on Red Cedar
Lane, a cul-de-sac at 53rd and Upton Avenue, So.
- A 2008 article in the Star Tribune says that it's
rumored that Kid Cann lived in a castle-like stone home
at 4700 Circle Down in Golden Valley (North Tyrol
Hills). It was built in 1942.
Ultimate Kid Cann historian Paul Maccabee adds these facts and figures
culled from legal documents, government files, and
- When he first came to Minneapolis in 1902 he lived
at 824 S. Seventh Street in Minneapolis.
- When he was five or six, he lived on Fourth Street
between 14th and 15th Avenue, S. In 1906,
according to INS files, the Minneapolis school records
indicate that one "Isidore Blumenfeld" had lived at 1014
1/2 Fourth Street So.
- According to Blumenfeld, as a boy he then moved to
1513 Fifth Street So., then to 17th Avenue So., then to
16th Avenue, So., across the street from the Adams
School. From there, he moved to Elliott between 19th and
20th. And then? "I was big enough to be on my own," said
- Somewhere in there he lived at 429 - 14th Ave. So.
- He was sentenced to one year in the Workhouse in
1934 for operating a still.
- He set up his first home for himself as a young man
on Colfax, between 35th and 36th Avenue, So., in around
- He then moved to 3948 First Avenue, So.
- He then moved to 3417 West 38th Street, four blocks
away from St. Louis Park. The Hennepin History Museum
has a set of 8" x 10' photos of this house, including
several interior shots. One of the pictures indicates
that it is the Bates mansion, but a notation on another
photo says "Kid Cann." The house was built in 1930, and
is across 38th Street from Minikahda Golf Course. The
property has been subdivided since the pictures were
taken; the house next door at 3800 Abbott wasn't built
- In 1951-52, a news article and the Minneapolis phone
book put him at 2305 Mount View Avenue.
- Prison and FBI files put Cann at 5900 Oakland Ave.
So. at least from 1957 to 1961. (the house was built in
- From 1961 to 1964 he resided in Leavenworth Prison. Once out, he
moved to Miami Beach.
Maccabee has sifted through thousands of documents and
found no evidence that Cann ever lived in St. Louis Park.
They say Kid Cann retired in St. Louis Park's Jewish community.
of heart disease on June 21, 1981 at Mt. Sinai Hospital in
Minneapolis. He is buried at the Adath Yeshurun
Cemetery at 56th and France Ave. in Edina (Row 1, Section
3). His grave is marked by just a small plaque,
with no big headstone or memorial. Interestingly, his name is
misspelled Blumenfield. There is a plaque for Lillian
next to Isadore's, but it has only a birth year on it.
here for pictures from the Minnesota Historical Society.
There is some mention of Kid Cann on a website called
A good article is from the
Twin Cities Daily Planet.
There is even a play: "Minnesota Landmarks and
Lakeshore Players are proud to present this dramatisation of
life and trials of Isadore "Kid" Cann, a notorious
gangster in Minneapolis and Saint Paul in the middle of the
twentieth century. Performed by noted Twin Cities Judges and
Lawyers, as well as local actors, this reenactment was
performed at Saint Paul's landmark Center, the historic
Ramsey County Courthouse. Written and directed by Joan Gill
Elwell, performed in October of 2010."
Someone even has a web site called
YIDDY AND HARRY BLOOM
Kid Cann had two brothers
who definitely lived in St. Louis Park:
Yiddy Bloom was born Jacob Blumenfeld on January 28,
1911. His wife Verna Kraemer was born on July 29,
1910. Yiddy and Verna were married in Sioux Falls,
South Dakota. He legally changed his name to Yiddy
Bloom. He and Verna
bought/built their home at 2857 Glenhurst in 1939, which is
when they are first listed in the St. Louis Park Directory.
They previously lived at 2805 Xerxes in Minneapolis.
The Glenhurst house is described as a beautiful gray stone
house on the corner of Glenhurst and Sunset Blvd., near
Highway 7. Yiddy was the manager of the East Side Liquor Store
from at least 1939 to 1949. From at least 1956 to 1958
he worked in real estate. In about 1958 Yiddy built
the house at 2430 Cedar Shore Drive facing Cedar Lake in the
middle of the block between Basswood and 25th. It is just
within the Minneapolis border between SLP and Cedar Lake. At some point he was a stock
market investor, and in 1978 he pleaded guilty to a stock
manipulation conspiracy. This may have been the
financial scandal referred to as the Magic Marker case.
Yiddy died on November 18, 1994 in Hopkins. Verna died
on September 22, 1991. The Blooms had a daughter LaVonne
("Babe") Hawley. Son Jerrold ("Jerry") Bloom
was born in Minneapolis on July 24, 1937 and lived most of
his adult life in Miami. He played college football at
Arizona State University and had a very brief football
career with the Dallas Texans. His career was as a
homebuilder. He died on October 27, 2011 in Arizona.
He was survived by his sister and his wife, Irene "Apple"
Harry H. Bloom was born on September 13, 1908.
H wife Lenore was born on January 8, 1908. Harry and
Lenore moved to their
house at 2450 France Ave. So. sometime after 1949
(definitely by 1961). Their house
on France is described as a huge rambler overlooking Cedar
Lake. That number is not an address today, and the closest
we can find is 4000 W. 25th Street in St. Louis Park. This house, with
its immense grounds, faces France Ave. and was built in
1952. Harry was alternately in real estate and the manager
of the Lake Street Liquor Store. It is said that he
developed mobile home parks. In 1962 he is listed as
retired, and in 1963 he is listed with no occupation.
From 1964-66 they lived at 4400 Minnetonka Blvd., Apt. 101;
there is no listing in 1967. Harry died on September
12, 1995, and Lenore died on August 28, 1901. Harry and Lenore had two
sons; Marvin died in 2012.
Yiddy, Harry and their wives are also buried at the Adath Yeshurun
Cemetery at 56th and France Ave. in Edina (Row 1, Section