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“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.

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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 Complete 9/11 Timeline / No Conspiracy Theories

September 8, 2011 Leave a comment

For anyone interested in marking the 10th anniversary of 9/11 by learning more about it I recommend the History Commons as a good place to start. Not a collection of conspiracy theories but a well researched timeline of over 6,000 events that made up that day and the trail of events leading up to it.
Or as they put it in their own words.
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“This timeline is meant to be a comprehensive resource for anyone attempting to understand 9/11 and the “war on terrorism” in general. Polls show that Americans are extremely uninformed about 9/11. A third of Americans can’t even correctly guess the year 9/11 took place and about half of all Americans mistakenly believe Saddam Hussein had a role in the attacks.

But it is vital for everyone to understand 9/11, what led to it, and what the fallout from it has been. Terrorism directly and indirectly affects our lives in many ways and dominates the political discourse. Those of us working on the 9/11 timeline are striving to boil the news on terrorism down to a reasonable level so citizens can stay well informed.

We strive to be objective and keep any layers of interpretation as thin as possible. If you see specific examples of bias anywhere in the timeline, please point them out so we can make changes. But at the same time, we unabashedly focus on failures, problems, and controversies instead of success stories. That’s because those are the things we need to learn from and fix and hold people responsible for when necessary.

9/11 and terrorism generally are flashpoints for what people call “conspiracy theory.” This 9/11 investigative project contains no conspiracy theories. In fact, it does not offer any theories at all. Rather it simply lays out the facts so readers can come to their own conclusions. Biases may show at times because no human being is completely objective and judgments have to be constantly made; for instance, to include this particular fact or that one when editing decisions have to be made to keep the length down. We rely on each other and ask readers to point out when we are missing important facts or skewing the information.”

To Explore The 9/11 Timeline Click Here

 

The Hawthorne Hotel Machine Gun Attack On Al Capone

The latest clip in our Chicago Crime History Series

 This sunny tree shaded bank parking lot looks a lot different today than it did in the roaring 20’s. This stretch of Cermak Rd, was lined with hotels and businesses and was the nerve center for the Capone organization when they moved into Cicero following the 1924 Chicago elections.

 In 1926 the gang war between Al Capone and the north side gang then headed by Hymie Weiss was raging. Scarface’s driver was found tortured and murdered quickly followed by an attempted hit on Weiss in broad daylight in the Loop. The retaliation for that failed attempt was probably the most spectacular attack of the whole era. Outdoing the St. Valentines Day Massacre for it’s brazenness if not for it’s body count.

On September 20th a group of anywhere from 6-10 cars launched a ferocious machine gun attack on The Hawthorne Hotel on 22nd and Cicero Ave. in Cicero.. Fist there was a feint attack by one car to draw out any Capone gunmen than the rest of the cars cars rolled past putting more than a thousand rounds into the hotel and restaurant where Scarface was eating. He was saved by Frank Rio his bodyguard.

 Less than two months later Weiss would be gunned down in the assassination that that took place on the steps of Holy Name Cathedral. This is right across the street from the headquarters of the northsiders. Schofield’s Florist where the previous head Dion O’Bannion was killed in 1924. We have a video of both those sites as part of our collection.

 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.

 Machinegun sounds via: http://www.audiomicro.com/

 Theme Music:
Constansy Part 2 Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons
“Attribution 3.0” http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

 MyAlCaponeMuseum is a great resource on Chicago underworld history and has been used extensively in our series:

http://www.myalcaponemuseum.com/index.htm

 Another great resource is The Outlaw Journals:

http://www.babyfacenelsonjournal.com/index.html

Holy Name Cathedral, Chicago, Bullet Scarred From Capone Era Hit

The latest in our History of Chicago Crime series we are posting on ChiTownView.

The the roaring 20’s in Chicago was a time of open warfare between two powerful crimminal organizations each seeking to control the cities illegal vice industry. It was the south side Italians led ny Johnny Torrio then Al Capone against the northside Irish headed by Dion O’Bannion, Hymie Weiess, and Bugs Moran. In the end the Italians were victorious because they could deliver the big hit while the north siders blew there big chances. And this spot on Chicago’s near north side was the site of two of the biggest hits delivered by the south siders.

The second assassination spot is the one you see first on the video clip. The steps of Holy Name Cathedral was the site of the execution of “Hymie” Weiess then leader of the northsiders. Gunmen in a apartment across the street opened fire on Weiss and his enterouge. He was killed by a wild shot fired by his own bodyguard. You can still see marks on the cornerstone from bullets fired in the shooting.

The men were heading into a flower store across the street. Next door to the rooming house where the gunmen fired from. The flower store was owned by the gang and was the site of the hit on Dion O’Bannion who was the previous head of the northside gang, That had happened a couple of years earlier and resulted in the failed hits on Johnny Torrio and Al Capone. Taking us back to the second hit.

Of course the war between north and south would continue and three years later Capone would (allegedly) make his third big hit this time against Bugs Moran. But they missed their target and the outcry over the slaughter of so many at once was the downfall of Big Al. It would also result in a stronger, smarter organization headed by Paul “the Waiter” Ricca. One that would control the city and surrounding area for all practical purposes for almost forty years. It was in fact the most powerful crimminal organization in the country because of it’s local control.

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.

Anyway there is a whole lot more to mad Sam’s story and a lot of the details are pretty gruesome more can be found here http://www.crimemagazine.com/mad-sam-destefano-mob%E2%80%99s-marquis-de-sade

MyAlCaponeMuseum is a great resource on Chicago underworld history and has been used extensively in our series:

http://www.myalcaponemuseum.com/index.htm

 Another great resource is The Outlaw Journals:

http://www.babyfacenelsonjournal.com/index.html

The Biograph Theater & The Night John Dillinger Died In Chicago

From: ChiTownView  | May 14, 2011  | 8 views

John Dillinger is a legendary name in the underworld of crime. The original public enemy #1 was also known as jackrabbit and his name is also closely tied to Chicago. His career as America’s favorite bank robber was short, less than 2 years and netted his men around $300,000.

It began next door in Indiana with his escape from prison in 1933. He and his men went on a crime spree that ended in early 1934 with his capture and then subsequent second jail break from the Lake county Ind. Jail. This is the one where he carved a gun out of a piece of soap or washboard. From there he eventually ended up hiding out on Chicago’s north side. Some one say under the protection of the Chicago syndicate and by extension the Chicago police.

It was a blistering hot summer in the windy city in 1934. One that saw 24 people die from the heat. That blistering heat not doubt helped Anna Sage coxed Dillinger out of his of hiding on the night of July 23 for an evening at the air conditioned Biograph at Lincoln and Fullerton. They saw Manhattan Melodrama and got out around 10:30. As he and his two lady friends left the theater Dillinger’s sixth sense picked up something and as they began to walk south he began looking for escape routes. He turned up and tried to duck down an alley but the Feds and officers from Lake County Ind. weren’t there to try and arrest Dillinger and he was cut down in a hail of gunfire. The gun that was “recovered” from his body wasn’t made until the following year. I found one clip from 2008 and started watching it. Like mine it ends up in the alley where you see two puddles about the same size in the same place. So who knows?

I’ve posted here and  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). Many people say the spot is haunted and here’s one strange thing I noticed. In the video at the end we go up the alley and we see a couple of puddles. Obviously that in itself isn’t odd but I did a search to see if any one else has posted videos of the Biograph. I found one clip from 2008 and started watching it. Like mine it ends up in the alley where you see two puddles about the same size in the same place. So who knows?

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

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.

America’s Empire and Endless Wars Are Destroying the World, and Ruining Our Great Country

September 7, 2010 1 comment

“The credo asserts a claim, and out of that claim comes a demand that the United States be able to exercise certain prerogatives. The second piece of the Washington Rules I label the sacred trinity, core principles that define the way we conceive of and use our military power. The elements of the sacred trinity are the following: first of all, a demand that the United States exclusively maintain a global military presence; second, the practice of configuring US forces not to defend the country, but so that they can serve as instruments of power projection; and then finally, to combine that global presence with those global power projection capabilities to support a policy of global interventionism.

This sacred trinity is really what distinguishes the United States’ military power. The Brits at one time had a dominant battle fleet; France in the time of Napoleon had a people in arms; what we have is the sacred trinity. And, to emphasize what I think is the key point, it doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do.”

“I think the short version goes like this. When the national security consensus was forged in the wake of WWII and the Washington Rules came into existence, they were not entirely irrational. I think you can make a strong case that American leadership and American military power were necessary in order to try to deal with the wreckage left behind by the war, to help to rebuild the liberal democratic world in order to resist the ambitions of Joseph Stalin. But the world that existed at the end of the 1940s no longer exists today, yet people in Washington tend to act as if the world has not changed at all.

So where did things go wrong? Things went wrong when the institutions — the Pentagon, the CIA, components of the military industrial complex — came to value the Washington Rules because they were good for the institutions, and gradually lost sight of the extent to which adhering to this national security consensus was good or not good for the nation itself.

Let’s get specific here. In the wake of WWII, our global military presence first took shape in Western Europe and Japan, and it was probably necessary in the near term. That presence abroad contributed to our safety and our wellbeing. But fast-forward to the post-Cold War period and our increasing military presence in places like the greater Middle East. You’d have to be crazy to think that the American military presence in Saudi Arabia after the first Gulf War, in Iraq after 2003, or in Afghanistan ever since 9/11, contributes to stability and security. That presence abroad actually enhances anti-Americanism and creates greater instability, but the Pentagon, committed to the proposition that we need to maintain this global military presence, is blind to the down side.”

Click here to read the entire interview.

I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.

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