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On January 17, 1920, the United States went dry. The 18th Amendment ushered in a new era in American history, one characterized by booming business, new fashions, and immense cultural upheaval. And in our nation’s capital, politicians, bootleggers, activists, government officials, cooks, servants, and everyone else in between all lived side by side, helping texture the stories from the past we tell today.

One of these individuals was James “Jimmy” LaFontaine. Known as the “Gentleman Gambler,” he owned and operated one of the largest and most profitable casinos of the era, the Maryland Athletic Club. And at Congressional Cemetery, Jimmy, along with a selection of other interred residents, are returning for a special event. Where is Jimmy? Who else is returning with him? What is the password to access his Maryland Athletic Club? Is Jimmy one of the notorious bootleggers supplying illicit spirits to the halls of Congress and beyond? These questions and more will all be answered at Gentleman’s Gambit: A Prohibition Era Mystery.

Gentleman’s Gambit is an interactive immersive outdoor theater experience in which visitors will be tasked with finding 6 actors playing interred residents across the cemetery grounds. Once they find them all, they will be granted an audience with Jimmy LaFontaine himself to once and for all solve the Gentleman’s Gambit.

The event also features cocktails at our Speakeasy Bar, live period appropriate music playing throughout the evening, and more thematic fun. The event is rain or shine. Timed entry tickets are from 4:00 PM-7:45 PM in 15 minute increments. Last call at the bar is at 9:00 PM and all visitors will be asked to leave at 9:15 PM.

To purchase tickets, please click the link HERE!


Held on the evenings of May 19 and 20, visitors will meet their instructor near the Gatehouse of the cemetery at preset start times (see ticket times on checkout) and will be presented with instructions and a Bootlegger’s Adviser mystery document, containing a map, helpful hints, and spaces to write answers. Participants will use the Bootlegger’s Adviser, hints from various costumed actors, and of course their own instincts to find actors throughout the cemetery.

After finding an actor in the cemetery and hearing their story, participants are provided with a letter of a password to access the Maryland Athletic Club. Once they have all the letters and know the full password, participants may proceed to the final stop to meet Jimmy himself at the Maryland Athletic Club. A complimentary prize is included!

To ensure every participant is able to enjoy the event, we ask that you please try to complete the challenge in no more than 1 hour and 15 minutes. You are welcome to enjoy cocktails and music at our Speakeasy Bar after you solve the Gentleman’s Gambit. 

You are welcome to arrive before your scheduled start time (we recommend arriving at least 15 minutes early) so you can go through check in/ID check, purchase a beverage, or enjoy live music, etc. But you must meet the instructor near the front gate at your scheduled start time to receive your Bootlegger’s Adviser and instructions to start your challenge. 

Comfortable and reliable footwear is recommended as the self-guided experience may take you across uneven ground. 

ASL Interpreters may be available upon request. If you need an ASL Interpreter to participate in the event, please message Aorlikoff@congressionalcemetery.org to arrange for one. 

Want to rock Gentleman’s Gambit merchandise, including shirts, hoodies, etc? Visit our online store using by CLICKING HERE!

Thank you to our sponsors!

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