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Lou Blonger

From Deadwood to Silver City, from New Orleans to San Francisco, Sam and Lou Blonger were known in the late nineteenth century as saloonmen, lawmen, miners and so-called Knights of the Green Cloth.

By 1920, Lou Blonger had so grown in influence that he was said by the chief of police to own the city of Denver, able to fix any arrest with a phone call, and raking in tens of thousands of dollars a year from the extensive confidence game operations he protected.

Throughout the course of their long careers, Sam and Lou Blonger, and their brothers Simon, Joe, Mike and Marvin, came to know many of the West's great legends, and a host of con men and criminals. Some of the connections are hearsay, a few open to question, but with the Blonger Bros. it's hard to say until the evidence is in.

So come on in, and get to know the gang.

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In his book on the Blonger gang, Fighting the Underworld, Philip Van Cise notes that Lou's favorite Denver nightspot in the early 1920s was a place called the Grafters Club. Author Amy Reading states that the club was owned by George "Tip" Belcher, who served as muscle for the Blonger gang. It was Tip's primary duty to protect the big con's payoff once it left a mark's possession.

Castle Rock Journal, Dec. 14, 1906

Alderman Frank P. Lennon, Republican candidate for sheriff of Pueblo county last fall, includes the following list of election expense items: "Paid the Grafters Club $100; for churches, grab bags, lotteries, etc., $46.50 for workers who worked, $60; for workers who didn't work, $80; two jugs of 'good cheer' that made the recipients so cheerful that they forgot to vote, $8."


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