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Chicago Crime Now & Then Presents A Couple of 1980’s Mob Hits

February 26, 2012 Leave a comment

This morning we present a pair of clips from our series “Chicago Crime Now & Then” that can be found on ChiTownView / YouTube.

Charles Carmen Inglesia or as he was more commonly known as Chuckie English was at one time a high ranking mobster and close personal friend of one time outfit boss Sam Giancana. They grew up as neighbors as kids and rose through the ranks of the Chicago underworld. He was at the height of his power in the 1960’s and early 70’s. His record distributing company Lormar controlled what records were put in jukeboxes in the Chicago area and beyond. He also made high interest juice loans and woe came upon those that did not pay up.

After Giancana was whacked in his home, right before he was slated to testify before Congress about the Kennedy assassination, Chuckie saw his career go into decline and it was suggested he leave town. He did for a few years but in the early 80’s he was allowed to return and run some low level action. This seems to have been a mistake.

On Valentines eve February 13, 1983 Chuck went up to Horwaths with an old friend and dined on roast pig. After they finished they went into the parking lot and as Chuckie reached his car two men in ski masks walked up and opened fire killing him. Following that they run off into the alley behind the restaurant and were never caught.

Horwaths was a favorite meeting spot for leaders of the Chicago mob as it was in the neighborhood where most of them lived. English, Giancan, Tony Accardo and Paul Ricca all lived within a mile. It began as a roadhouse / speakeasy in the 1930’s and was known as a place where good friends come to meet. Horwath’s also made an appearence in a 2003 episode of West Wing. Although it was a stand in for a Dayton Ohio eatery.

Horwaths is gone now replaced by another box store so another little slice of history, and a pretty cool neon sign, are gone. When Horwaths was there the position of the sign, parking lot and sign are reversed from the layout of Staples today.

The Chicago mafia unlike their counterparts in NY was open to non Italians who showed the right stuff. Ken Eto like his father before was a gambling racketeer for the mob. His specialty was operating a Latin version of the numbers game called the Bolita. Even though the state of IL. had introduced the lottery during the 70’s there were still enough players loyal to Eto’s racket that he was still employing nearly a hundred workers to operate it in the early 80’s. Then he got indited by the Feds for felony gambling and for the first time in his life was looking at serious jail time. Not a good thing.

On the evening of February 10, 1983 Ken received an early Valentine gift from some old friends. He was sitting in his car in the parking lot of the Mont Clare theater meeting with a couple of associates when they pulled out guns and pumped hot lead into him. They quickly exited the car and headed towards a waiting car.

A little too quickly though because they didn’t finish the job because despite having a bullet in his head he was able to get out of the car and stagger into a nearby drug store. He lived and ended up turning on the mob and “singing” for the government. In fact this hit along with the botched coverup of the Spilotro hits proved to be the undoing of the Chicago mob in the final years of the 20th century. For while the Chicago outfit is still around they are not the force they were.

The Montclare and the drug store are both gone now as this quite little stretch of Grand Ave. gets redeveloped. It is in an area of the “Mafia riviera” of near western suburbs where the Italian gangsters relocated as they became wealthy. They settled in towns like Oak Park, River Forest and Elmwood Park.

Death Corner In Chicago’s North Side Early 20th Century “Little Hell”

February 19, 2012 Leave a comment
A new video uploaded by on Feb 18, 2012

Less than a mile from Chicago’s famed gold coast is one of the city’s more infamous areas. In an area roughly between La Salle & the river and Division & Chicago was the home of the notorious Cabrini Green housing project and before that it was an slum known as “little hell” populated by Italian & Irish immigrants. In the early part of the 20th century the area was so crime ridden the police didn’t even spend much time there.

It was an area firmly in control of the “black hand” a precursor to the Mafia. They were an organization that offered to provide protection to the immigrants from themselves basically. How it worked was you revived a warning note from them and if you didn’t pay well then bad things happened. And at the corner of Oak and what is now known as Cleveland was the favorite dumping ground for the bodies of victims that didn’t heed the warning. A 1931 report says as many as fifty bodies turned up at this corner.

There were a number of assassins that dumped there bodies there the most famous of them was known as the “shotgun man”. He is alleged to have killed 15 including four within a three day period.

To see the video click below

The 7-10 Split: Death Corner In Chicago’s North Side Early 20th Century “Little Hell”.

“Bathhouse” John Coughlin; Chicago Alderman / Poet / Barkeep

January 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Uploaded by on Jan 26, 2012

Chicago’s 1st ward encompasses the wealth of downtown and the large population of transients that used to populate the near south side. A combination that made it a powerfull aldermanic post. John “Bathouse” Coughlin was a flamboyant character who was alderman for more than forty years. For a good portion of those decades he along with his partner Mike “Hinky Dink” Kenna were the center of power in Chicago. Mike McDonald may have been the first vice baron in Chicago but The Bath and The Hink were the first to really organize vice and gambling and turn it into political power in the Windy City. Big Jim Colissimo was a bagman for them before inheriting their vice racket.

In this clip we see a pair of establishments The Bath operated on Madison st. In downtown Chicago. Where St. Peters church now stands used to be the spot where the Brevoort Hotek once stood, In the basement of this luxury hotel (the first in Chicago with an elevator) was John’s bathhouse. Just a few doors west is where he operated the Silver Dollar Saloon.
And if three careers were not enough Mr. Coughlin was also a poet and a bon vivant who wanted to lead a revolution in man’s dress.

So out hats off to you Bathhouse John you might have been a corrupt grafter but you were an honest one. If you’d like to read more about John and his partner try and track down a copy of “Lords of the Levee” by Wendt & Kogan at your library.

This clip is part of a series produced by MindsiMedia and presented on ChiTownView ‘s YouTube station. We are getting some Chicago crime history in HBO’s series “Boardwalk Empire” and more will be on display when the film version of Eric Larsen’s “Devil In The White City”. Our series shows some of the famous places in Chicago crime history as they exist today. While telling some of that history with each clip.

The Cotton Club, Al Capone’s Cicero Jazz Hot Spot As It Looks Today

October 30, 2011 Leave a comment

Uploaded by on Oct 30, 2011
Al Capone owned along w/brother Frank a number of speaks and bars in Cicero during the 1920’s. None were as famous as the Cotton Club located at 5542 W. Cermak. The club was a real hot spot, a favorite with Chicago mayor Bill Harrison even though booze was being sold there.  They were one of the few places where whites could come and see the top black performers of the day. Artists like Milton Mezzrow, Judge Hinton, Jelly Roll Morton, Duke Ellingon, King Oliver, Louis Armstrong and even Milton Berle got his start here.

This clip is part of the series “The Outfit Now & Then” produced by MindsiMedia and presented on ChiTownView’s YouTube station. We show a mixture of crime scenes and homes associated with different Chicago mobsters and tell a little history with each clip.  On our blog we have started posting a history of this organization that for many years had an incredible amount of influence and power over the second largest city in the country. While this may have been true for most of the big cities the level of influence in Chicago and many nearby suburbs was much stronger. In the HBO series Boardwalk Empire they have a storyline that is based the Chicago outfit and that’s where we start our series.

Follow this link to our blog then link up to different videos from there.
https://mindsimedia.wordpress.com/2011/08/17/the-outfit-a-look-at-big-jim-scarface-momo-the-rest-of-the-chicago-mob-part-1/

In researching our information we have come across some great sources. MyAlCaponeMuseum is a one for Chicago underworld history they provide a wealth of information and have a lot of photos posted.
http://www.myalcaponemuseum.com/index.htm  Another great resource is The Outlaw Journals:
http://www.babyfacenelsonjournal.com/index.html

MindsiMedia is an Internet broadcaster with a series of YouTube channels under development that cover a broad range of topics; history, music, art, politics and much more. Visit our web portal http://www.mindsimedia.info/

Fig Leaf Rag Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons
“Attribution 3.0″ http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/”

 

John Dillinger Gets Plastic Surgery On Pulaski Rd.

October 5, 2011 Leave a comment
From: ChiTownView  | Oct 4, 2011  | 2 views

Following John Dillinger’s escape from the Crown Point jail in March of 1934 he was the most wanted man in the nation. He fled to the city of Chicago and hid out, it has been alleged, with the help of his lawyer Louis Piquett. The lawyer turned Dillinger over to a former client asmall time crok and bar owner James “Cabaret” Probasco who would make the arrangements.

Probasco found a couple of shady surgeons named William Loeser and Harold Cassidy. Since neither them would use their offices for the operation Probasco set them up in his home that used to stand at 2509 N. Crawford (now Pulaski). Then on the evening of May 28,1934 the operation was performed and Dillinger almost died on the table because too much anesthetic. In the endthe surgery wasn’t a success and within two months Dillinger would be dead (allegedly) in the execution outside the Biograph theater.

I’ve posted in our Chicago Crime History playlist a newsreel clip from that night and the response to his death was incredible. The streets and sidewalks were wall to wall people and many of them soaked up his blood with their handkerchiefs (that’s not shown in the clip).
http://www.youtube.com/user/ChiTownView#grid/user/44EE6D5…

Here’s a link to john Dillinger’s Scrapbook for more info on the original public enemy #1 http://jhdillinger.fortunecity.com/

The ChicagoCrimeSceneProject has a nice post on this story.
http://chicagocrimescenes.blogspot.com/2009/10/dillingers…

This clip is part of a series produced by MindsiMedia and presented on ChiTownView ‘s YouTube station. We are getting some Chicago crime history in HBO’s series “Boardwalk Empire” and more will be on display when the film version of Eric Larsen’s “Devil In The White City”. Our series shows some of the famous places in Chicago crime history as they exist today. While telling some of that history with each clip.

A Chicago Stroll Art, History & the Birthplace of Organized Crime

September 20, 2011 Leave a comment

This past Saturday was a magnificent day here in Chicago. I got up early and wanted to get out as there was a long list of places I wanted to visit and share on my ChiTownView YouTube station. So I caught the Blue line and headed downtown then caught the red line down to the double duce. Cermak Avenue or 22nd St. where you can find Chicago’s version of Chinatown. Our sights today were set a little further east.
My first stop was the birthplace of Chicago’s organized crime a ten block area of sin and debauchery known as The Levee. Of course that was at the start of the last century right now the whole area is occupied by a senior citizen highrise development. I then went a couple of blocks over to Wabash where Big Jim Colosimo and Johnny Torrio had their respective headquarters. Replaced now by vacant lots and a roaring 20’s dinner theater.
I then headed over to Michigan Ave. and began heading north into the area that in the late 50’s and early 60’s was known as Chicago’s record row. Where all the major and minor labels had their offices. At 2126 there is the Chess Records Museum and Willie Dixon Garden.  Chess recorded most of the seminal blues artists of the 50’s was also Chuck Berry’s label. A little further north we came across the former locations of Vee Jay and Capitol records. The former was another seminal blues company and the other of course a worldwide operation.
By then I was at Roosevelt Rd. at the southern end of Grant Park where I found the 106 piece “Agora” sculpture installation and the Greek revival  Rosenberg fountain.  From there I walked north up to the Art Institute where a took a break in the little grotto just off Michigan Ave. that contains the lovely Spirit of the Great Lakes fountain. That’s the great thing about Grant Park is that it contains over a hundred and twenty years of public art. From there I was going to walk through the loop and catch a Brown line train north.

It was a fairly uneventful walk until I got to the Daley Plaza. There under the watchful eye of the Picasso statute I found that Chicago was (at least this part) being transformed into Metropolis for filming of the new Superman movie. I didn’t see any major stars but did get some footage before being shagged off. From there I walked over to the Clark St. station and caught the Brown line up to North ave.
Up there I was looking for the former home of Siebens Brewery  which in the 1920’s served as the starting point for a gang war that culminated in The St. Valentines Day massacre. Like most of Chicago’s more “colorful” past it has been replaced by something else. From there we headed southwest  across Goose Island to our final stop. But by then I was as might well imagine mighty thirsty. As luck would have it I came across an establishment called The Frontier where I has a well deserved drink (gin & tonic).
Thus fortified I continued my trek down Milwaukee Rd. to 805 north. This is of course the former home of the bowling alley where “Machine-Gun” Jack McGurn was killed. Jack was a suspect in the St. Valentines Day massacre and he was killed almost exactly on the seventh anniversary of that day. By then my “dogs were barking” and it was time to ride the Blue line back to Forest Park.

It had been a great day.

The Levee, Birthplace of Chicago’s Organized Crime

September 18, 2011 Leave a comment

Also known as the most corrupt spot on the planet was an experiment in social engineering carried out by “Hinky Dink” McKenna and Alderman John “Bath House” Coughlin. They were a pair rouge Chicago politicians who thought the citizens of Chicago would be best served by concentrating vice in one or two areas,under their control. The Levy in the video was located between 19th & Cermak and Sate & Clark streets. It was “created” to move a smaller contained vice district just south of the rapidly developing downtown “loop area”. It was moved into a much larger area also to handle the expected crowds for the 1893 Columbian Exposition.

The Levee was just like the fair was a world-class exposition home to over two hundred brothels and saloons. With names like; The House of All Nations, The Little Green House, Bed Bug Row, the Bucket of Blood, The Why Not(the city’s first S&M club), The Sapho, Freidberg’s Dance Hall, and the Everleigh Club. The latter was a world renown sporting house operated the Everleigh sisters. And it was pimp and gangster “Big” Jim Colosimo who controled this area for McKenna and Coughlin. It operated in this pretty much wide open manner for almost twenty years. Then in 1912 a lurid, scathing report was issued called “The Social Evil in Chicago ” and it effectively blew the lid off the Levee. The report in conjunction with a larger social movement for legally controlling vice spelled the end of the Levee.

And now even the streets where it once stood are now gone replaced by a towering senior citizens apartment complex. Of course the vice wasn’t eliminated by closing down the Levee it just wasn’t on such public display. The Levee made Mr. Colosimo a very wealthy  and powerful man who kept his control over vice. In 1910 he opened a high-class restaurant  Colosimo’s Cafe” at 2126 S. Wabash on the eastern fringes of his empire. If you’ve seen HBO’s Boardwalk Empire then you know that this is where Big Jim was killed under orders of Johnny Torrio his second in command. The killing said to have been carried out by Al Capone.
Big Jims cafe is a memory in its place stands (lays?) the parking lot for a 1920’s style dinner theater Tommy Guns Garage. One of the few places that pay homage to Chicago’s unsavory past. They are well worth checking out here is a link to their site. http://www.tommygunsgarage.com/index.htm
At any rate just down the street at 2222 S. Wabash Torrios headquarters The 4 Duces. Home to woman, whiskey and gambling. Imported by Torrio from New York to act as bouncer was a young Al Capone. As prohibition was becoming the law of the land Torrio was eager to organize this soon to be illicit vice. Big Jim was getting older and perhaps more refined wanted no part of it. So in the end as they say “he had to go”.  Torrio had Big Jim killed and went on to organize the distribution of booze along with the rest of crime in Chicago.

This clip is part of the series “The Outfit Now & Then” produced by MindsiMedia and presented on ChiTownView’s YouTube station. We show a mixture of crime scenes and homes associated with different Chicago mobsters and tell a little history with each clip.  On our blog we have started posting a history of this organization that for many years had an incredible amount of influence and power over the second largest city in the country. While this may have been true for most of the big cities the level of influence in Chicago and many nearby suburbs was much stronger. In the HBO series Boardwalk Empire they have a storyline that is based the Chicago outfit and it’s where we start our series.

Follow this link to our blog then link up to different videos from there.
https://mindsimedia.wordpress.com/2011/08/17/the-outfit-a-look-at-big-jim-scarface-momo-the-rest-of-the-chicago-mob-part-1/

In researching our information we have come across some great sources;
MyAlCaponeMuseum. http://www.myalcaponemuseum.com/index.htm
The Outlaw Journals. http://www.babyfacenelsonjournal.com/index.html
ChicagoCrimeSceneProject. http://chicagocrimescenes.blogspot.com/

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