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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.

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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”.

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/

Al Capone’s Cicero “Playhouse”

August 30, 2011 Leave a comment

One of two new clips uploaded by on Aug 30, 2011

In 1924 elections in Chicago ushered in a new mayor not friendly towards Johnny Torrio’s south side mob. So he dispatched his top gun Al Capone to take over the bordering town of Cicero. He established his headquarters at the Hawthorne Hotelbut needed a place where he could get away from business and his family. So this unassuming apartment building became his playhouse. Back in the day it had a steel door a couple of escape tunnels and around the clock guards.

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-scar…

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

The Outfit, A Look At Big Jim, Scarface, Momo & the Rest Of the Chicago Mob Part 1

August 17, 2011 2 comments

On our ChiTownView YouTube station we are posting a series of old gangster homes and other “hood” places of historical interest. We provide some history in the descriptions of the clips. Some of the clips have already been posted here on our blog. This is the first part of an overview of our series on the Chicago mobs history. The links will take you to our videos with other links there to dig deeper.

They were a remarkable, ruthless, deadly group of men, Refugees, some on the run from other countries or the sons of impoverished immigrants. They all started out during prohibition working for a man called Al Capone. They went on to develop a criminal organization that ruled Chicago for more than half a century. It has been alleged that this group helped elect John F. Kennedy and then helped in his assassination. The organization was known as “the outfit” and it members included Frank Nitti, Paul Ricca, Tony Accardo, Sam Giancana, Sam De Stefano and Sam Battaglia.
Prohibition turned them from street corner punks and common criminals into men of wealth and power. And for decades they used America’s undying desire to eliminate vice to maintain their control and increase their wealth. For the most part they didn’t pay for their crimes and lived long lives that ended in solid comfort.
The the roaring 20’s  in Chicago was a time of open warfare between two powerful criminal organizations each seeking to control the cities illegal vice industry. It was the south side Italians led by Johnny Torrio then Al Capone against the northside Irish headed by Dion O’Banion, Hymie Weiess, and Bugs Moran. This was part of a national stratagy by the mafia to organize crime.In the end the Italians were victorious because they could deliver the big hit while the north siders blew their big chances.

Beginning with prohibition in 1920 the Chicago crime gangs each had their own territory and conflicts were pretty low-key. Conflicts arose and twice in 1924 O’Banion tried to get Torrio and Capone arrested. In february he tried to have them framed for the murder of Frank Duffy. Frank was a gunman for O’Bannion and he killed his wife and went to O’Bannion for help.  Dion had Duffy meet him at The 4 Duces a Capone club. In the end no one was charged with the murder.The next place he was found was dead in a snow bank.

Until 1924 the O’Banion mob was working with the Italians and then the northsiders got wind of a police raid coming on the Siebens Brewery 1464 N. Larrabee.  This was operation that they co owned so O’Banion arranged to meet Johnny Torrio there on the night of the raid to finalize the buyout of the north side gangs share. Torrio was caught faced jail and lost the half million dollars O’Bannion had already been paid for his share.

In November Torrio struck back right at the heart of the northsiders. Their headquarters was in  Schofield’s, a flower shop on north State street right across from Holy Name Cathedral. On the morning of the tenth two men walked into the shop one man shook O’Banions hand and held on as the other man shot him. The leader of the north side gang was gunned down in his own shop.

Two months later the north side gang now headed by Hymie Wiess struck back with an attempted assassination pf Johnny Torrio. Badly wounded Torrio retired leaving Al Capone in charge. Wiess was in prison for almost a year so things were pretty quiet until Aug. if 1926 when Al Capone’s chauffeur Anthony Cuiringlione was found tortured and murdered. A week later there was an attempted hit on Weiss in downtown Chicago.
Next came what has to be one of the most flamboyant hits in Chicago history. A caravan of six cars fire hundreds of rounds of tommy gun fire into the restaurant of the Hawthorne Hotel. Capone’s Cicero headquarters and where he was eating. Al was saved by his bodyguard Frank Rios. So for the second time in two years the north side gang had missed a big opportunity.
Capone was scared and wanted a truce but the price that Weiss wanted was too high so on October 11th at four in the afternoon Al decided on another assassination. Weiss and some of his men were crossing State St. to their headquarters at Schofield’s when gunmen located in the rooming house next door opened fire. The the street in front of Holy   filled with bullets.  Weiss was killed, by an errant shot from one of his own men. So for the second time in two years the head of the  north side gang had been gunned down. Leaving Bugs Moran in charge.

Of course the war between north and south would continue. Moran and the gang did not back down they continued to hijack Capone’s booze trucks and assassinating associates of his. It is widely believed that this is what led to the St. Valentines Day massacre in 1929. Since no one was ever convicted of this crime it’s generally accepted that Capone sent a crew of hitters led by “Machine Gun” Jack McGurn to the north side garage in an effort to kill Bugs Moran and finally put an end to the gang war now in its fifth year. There is an alternative theory that the massacre was the work of another gangster Jack “3 Finger” White in revenge for the killing of his cousin by the Gussenberg brothers. Who were killed that day.

But Despite the carnage they missed their target Moran had been running late and spotted the “police” entering his garage as he turned up the ally. The resulting outcry over the slaughter of so many at once was the downfall of Big Al. Although he was never convicted of this crime within three years he would be sitting in Alcatraz.

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 criminal organization in the country because of its local control.

More to come.

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