Looking for Al Capone


If you’ve ever heard anything about the history of the Green Mill, you’ve probably learned about Al Capone’s supposed connections to the place. Legend has it that he owned the Green Mill. He purportedly hung out at the Green Mill. And according to lore, he sometimes escaped from the Green Mill via underground tunnels, which were also used to deliver beer.

I haven’t found any credible evidence to support these legends, which have been repeated in books, articles, and websites, including Wikipedia. And I’m not the only one who’s had trouble verifying these stories. “People are always calling me with Capone stories, someplace where Capone was known to be. Ninety-nine percent of it is urban legend, and I think it’s especially true with the Green Mill,” Richard Lindberg, the author of many books on Chicago history, told the Chicago Tribune in 2007.1

One of the more outlandish versions of these legends appeared in a 2012 story in the LA Review of Books, which had this to say about the Green Mill: “This was Capone’s favorite bar. A place he spent much of his time—making deals, eating meals, bossing people around. And having a good time. It is rumored that if Capone walked in at any given time, night or day, the band would immediately stop whatever they were playing and switch over to his favorite tune, ‘Rhapsody in Blue.’”2

After reading this, I asked Chicago author Jonathan Eig, who researched the famous gangster’s history for his 2010 book Get Capone, if it’s true that the Green Mill was Capone’s favorite bar. In a succinct tweet, Eig replied, “Definitely not.”3

Eig (whose other acclaimed books include Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig, Ali: A Life, and King: A Life) later told me via email: “I found no primary evidence connecting Capone to the Green Mill, except through McGurn, and even that was speculative. As usual, the legends are to be taken with a grain of salt.”4

Eig was referring to “Machine Gun” Jack McGurn, a Capone henchman who reportedly had part ownership of the Green Mill in 1927. I suspect that the legends about the Green Mill’s supposed connections with Capone largely spring out of that McGurn tale. But it’s a story with many debatable details. Even if it’s true that McGurn owned a piece of the Green Mill, it’s far from clear that means Capone himself was involved.

It’s hard, if not impossible, to prove a negative. Can I say there’s definitive proof that Al Capone was not connected with the Green Mill? No. I did find a few sketchy clues suggesting a possible Capone link to the place. But it seems unlikely that the Green Mill was ever a regular hangout for Capone, though it’s possible he visited the nightclub at some point.

Legend has it that Al Capone had a favorite booth at the Green Mill—located at a spot in the L-shaped room where you can see the front entrance on Broadway as well as the side door on Lawrence Avenue. Here’s how Wikipedia used to explain this supposed fact: “Al Capone’s favorite booth is still in the establishment located directly west of the short end of the bar. Capone and his men would sit here because it afforded clear views of both the front and back entrances to the establishment.”

But this story must be false for one simple reason: The room where the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge operates today didn’t exist in the same form during Capone’s era. As I detailed in Chapter 2, the tavern opened in this space around 1935, after the building was rebuilt following an extensive fire in 1933. According to a Chicago Reader article based on an interview with former Green Mill owner Steve Brend, “The design of today’s Green Mill Lounge interior was done in 1942.”5 All of this was long after the heyday of Capone, who was in prison for tax evasion from 1932 to 1939.

As of today—March 12, 2024—the Wikipedia entry has been revised. I suspect these changes were prompted by my recent research, but alas, there’s no source listed! At the moment, Wikipedia says the legend about the booth “can not be true, since the current day Green Mill did not exist at that site until 1935, several years after Capone went to prison, leaving Chicago for good.”6

Throughout the history of Green Mill Gardens—and the other venues that took over the space during the Prohibition Era—the main indoor space for entertainment, dining, and drinking was a large, two-story room in the building’s northwest corner. The entrance was at 4806 North Broadway, where Fiesta Mexicana is today.

The portion of the building closer to the corner of Broadway and Lawrence—where the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge is now, at 4802 North Broadway, alongside the Birrieria Zaragoza restaurant, at 4800—was occupied by other stores during the 1920s, including a drugstore and a jewelry shop. That’s documented in newspaper advertisements, telephone book listings, Cook County property records, and 1920s photographs of the building. (For more details about all of that, see Chapter 2.)

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, plate 16388, June 17, 1930.

The upshot of all this is that Al Capone never sat in that booth. If he ever was present at that exact spot, he probably would have found himself next to a drugstore’s soda counter or a jewelry display case.

Likewise, the legends about how Capone and his mobster pals would escape this space by exiting through underground passages make little sense. To quote the old Wikipedia entry again: “There is still an access hatch to the tunnels located directly behind the long end of the bar that leads underneath the street to an adjacent building; this is how Capone was able to elude the authorities when he visited the Green Mill.” This also been rewritten recently. It now says the story about escape tunnels “has never been positively confirmed, but is unlikely considering that prohibition was over and Capone was in prison before the current day Green Mill was built.”7

Yes, there is a floor hatch behind the bar at the Green Mill, where employees can descend into a basement storage area to retrieve bottles of liquor and other supplies. But this spot wasn’t even a bar during the Prohibition Era. At the earliest, that hatch may have been installed when this space was rebuilt following the 1933 fire, which burned through the floor.

One fundamental question looms over the whole mystery of Capone’s ties to the Green Mill: What exactly do we mean when we refer to the “Green Mill” in the Prohibition Era? The business shut down at least seven times during the era, reopening each time under a new name and new owners. In the decade after Green Mill Gardens closed in the spring of 1923, the venue became the Montmartre Cafe, followed by the New Green Mill Cafe, Green Mill Gardens (a new corporation with the same old name), Ye Old Green Mill Cafe, the Green Mill, the Lincoln Tavern Town Club, and the Green Mill Ballroom.

Al Capone’s name appears nowhere in any of the corporation papers for these businesses—or in the property transactions involving the land and the building. That’s not surprising. Other than his house on Prairie Avenue (whose ownership he shared with his wife and mother), Capone apparently didn’t own any property.

“He didn’t want to be tied too closely to any of the illicit businesses he helped to supervise and supply,” Eig wrote in Get Capone. “Members of his organization, on the other hand, had their own hotels, casinos, speakeasies, lower-class speakeasies known as ‘blind pigs,’ cabarets, restaurants, breweries, bakeries, and brothels. Capone would get a slice of the profits from each of those operations, but at least on paper, he had nothing to do with them.”8

It’s conceivable that some of the proprietors who ran the Green Mill’s various incarnations over the years had such a deal with Capone. But it’s more likely they would have been involved with the North Side’s criminal organizations, which were at war with Capone throughout much of the Prohibition Era.

It’s pretty clear that mobsters hung out at the Green Mill at various times, and some of them may have been involved in running the joint—or simply providing booze.

The 1930 book Chicago Gang Wars in Pictures: X Marks the Spot included the Green Mill in a gallery showing “Whoopee Spots in Chicago Night Life.” Although the book didn’t include any explanation of why the Green Mill was showcased in this context, the obvious implication was that these “Whoopee Spots” were affiliated with the city’s mobsters.9

At least one of the Green Mill proprietors listed in official corporation documents, Leonard Boltz, was a reputed mobster. Over the years, newspapers reported on a number of mob-related incidents in and around the Green Mill. But these stories never seemed to involve Al Capone.

One constant throughout the era was Tom Chamales, who’d started Green Mill Gardens back in 1914. As the years went on, he stepped aside from running the cabaret, leasing the space at 4806 North Broadway to other proprietors, but he continued to serve as the landlord (despite legal challenges to his ownership).

Tom Chamales in 1907

Was Chamales involved in Chicago’s mobs? His name does appear in John Landesco’s in-depth 1929 book Organized Crime in Chicago, but it’s only a passing mention, offering a vague hint that Chamales may have been connected with the city’s criminal underworld. The book includes Chamales’s name on a list of noteworthy people who attended one of the era’s most legendary mob funerals. Big Jim Colosimo’s memorial service in May 1920 was a who’s who of powerful Chicagoans.

“Among the honorary pall-bearers were aldermen, judges, congressmen, noted singers of the Chicago Opera Company, leaders of his immigrant group and his associates in underworld activities,” Landesco wrote, noting that Chamales was there, alongside the pallbearers.10

Big Jim Colosimo. Wikimedia.

Does that suggest Chamales had a connection with the South Side mob? Perhaps, but not necessarily. Chamales surely must have known Colosimo from the years when they were both operating restaurants on Wabash Avenue. They ran in the same circles. It would have been more surprising if Chamales hadn’t shown up for his funeral.

Consider his history as a businessman. By the time Chamales was in his early 20s, he was already a saloonkeeper.11 Starting around 1904, he ran a popular place called the Savoy, on Wabash Avenue near Harrison Street12—an area of Chicago’s downtown that wasn’t too far from the South Side’s Levee prostitution district; Colosimo’s was a mile and half south of the Savoy. When Chamales was prosecuted for serving alcohol on Sundays, an assistant state’s attorney said the Savoy was “one of the worst of the disorderly saloons in Chicago,”13 but Chamales’s attorney insisted it was a respectable restaurant.14 A jury found Chamales not guilty.15 Reformers had tried to make an example out of this Greek immigrant and failed.

This was an era when many saloonkeepers faced criticism. The people pushing for laws against alcohol were suspicious of anyone who made a profit by selling booze. And in Chicago, it was routine for saloon owners to break laws, like the Illinois statute restricting alcohol sales on Sundays. Police and city officials usually turned a blind eye.

Chamales was a successful businessman who gave people what they wanted: drinks, food, and lively entertainment, all of it served up in attractive venues where Chicagoans could meet and mingle. But some people saw him as a symbol of Chicago’s corrupt culture—he was one of those proprietors of saloons and other “disorderly” establishments who always seemed to get away with flouting the law. People like Big Jim Colosimo,16 the South Side’s most prominent vice lord.17 Chamales apparently never operated any businesses directly inside the Levee district, which became a nucleus for organized crime, but he seemed to have the reputation of someone who was connected with the Levee crowd.

When Chamales took over the Morse roadhouse—at the location where he later opened Green Mill Gardens—some of that North Side neighborhood’s residents worried he was attracting the same sort of customers who frequented his downtown saloon. People complained about “undesirables,”18 including women suspected of prostitution, hanging out at the roadhouse. When those neighbors warned about a powerful “vice combine,” Chamales was probably one of the people they were talking about.19 The Inter Ocean noted that Chamales and one of his brothers were “commonly reputed to have the financial backing of a South Side politician,” though it didn’t say exactly who.20 Two possible suspects are Bathhouse John Coughlin and Michael “Hinky Dink” Kenna, the notoriously corrupt aldermen who ruled over the downtown’s First Ward, where Chamales operated the Savoy.21

Of course, all of this innuendo may have been groundless, rooted in fear and prejudice. And unlike Big Jim Colosimo, Chamales did not seem to have a mob of criminals doing his bidding.

The scene of Colosimo’s killing in Chicago Gang Wars in Pictures: X Marks the Spot.

Colosimo’s reign came to an end on May 11, 1920, when he was shot and killed at his popular restaurant and nightlife spot on Wabash Avenue near 22nd Street. It was Chicago’s first major mob murder of the Prohibition Era.

The Daily News did not take note of Chamales’s presence at the memorial service.

“It was the funeral of a man of power,” the newspaper wrote. “Great politicians in silk hats moved Homerically about. Judges pushed their way through the jam. Banners floated in the air—the banners of the First Ward Democratic club, of Sicilian and Italian fraternal societies.”

Outside Colosimo’s house, at 3156 South Vernon Avenue, “the underworld stood massed in solid formation,” the Daily News wrote.22

Jim Colosimo’s tomb at Oak Woods Cemetery.

With Colosimo’s death, Johnny Torrio ascended to the leadership of his criminal organization,23 where a young thug from New York City named Al Capone soon started climbing the ranks. “In the early days we never heard of Capone,” Tribune reporter James Doherty recalled.24

Johnny Torrio. Wikimedia.

Over the next four years, Torrio and other gangsters organized the criminal enterprise of supplying beer to Chicagoans. The gangs established territories. “Each group was granted a monopoly in its own area, and it was to stay in that area,” John J. Binder wrote in his book Al Capone’s Beer Wars.25 But the details of this map—exactly when it was agreed upon, and how it changed over time—are debatable. In these early years of prohibition, “Nobody had formalized who was allied with what and who was going to control anything, so it was kind of wide open,” Tim Samuelson, the city of Chicago’s cultural historian emeritus, told me.26

By 1924, the North Side gang—led by Dean O’Banion during the early 1920s—controlled beer distribution everywhere north of Madison Street and east of the Chicago River’s North Branch, according to Binder. Green Mill Gardens was deep within that territory, some six miles north of Madison.

Meanwhile, the Torrio gang controlled a large swath of the South and West Sides, stretching from Madison Street down to around 71st Street, and extending from the lakefront all the way over to the city’s western edge in the Brighton Park neighborhood. And 10 other gangs controlled various parts of Chicago.27

This map shows the city’s gang boundaries in the mid-1920s. Chicago Daily Tribune, February 16, 1936.

According to Capone biographer Laurence Bergreen, those first few years of the Prohibition Era were “relatively peaceful” in Chicago. “Under the influence of Johnny Torrio, local racketeers had neatly carved up the city, and each respected the other’s territory, settling matters among themselves without firing shots or leaving corpses for the police to find and the newspapers to photograph,” Bergreen wrote.28 There were only two bootlegging-related homicides in Cook County in 1920, followed by one in 1921 and six in 1922, according to Binder’s analysis.29

Capone arrived in Chicago as early as 1919,30 but not much is known about his first few years in Chicago. He reportedly worked at the Torrio mob’s roadhouses and brothels in south suburban Burnham31 and at the Four Deuces,32 a saloon, gambling parlor, and brothel at 2222 South Wabash Avenue that served as the gang’s headquarters.33

But curiously, Capone’s home address was 6832 North Sheridan Road when he received a permit to carry a gun—placing him in the Rogers Park neighborhood, some 11 miles north of the Four Deuces and 30 miles from the Burnham roadhouses.

It’s hard not to wonder if Capone actually lived at such an unlikely location. But his brother Ralph Capone mentioned the place when he gave congressional testimony in 1951. Asked where he’d lived when he first moved to Chicago, Ralph said: “When I first came here, I lived on Farwell and Sheridan with my brother.”34 If Al Capone really did live on the North Side, it would make sense for him to choose a spot along Sheridan Road, which was the major thoroughfare along the lakefront at that time.

Chicago Daily Tribune, August 28, 1921.

Newspaper ads had appeared in August and September 1921, seeking tenants for this newly constructed three-story building at the southwest corner of Sheridan Road and Farwell Avenue,35 which had four-room and six-room apartments featuring sun parlors, Murphy In-A-Dor beds (which fold up into the wall36), paneled dining rooms, two baths in each apartment, and “Every Modern Convenience.”37 The building still stands today, with a Giordano’s pizza restaurant occupying the ground floor.

One imagines—and let me stress that word: imagines—that Capone could have visited Green Mill Gardens and other North Side cabarets during the time he lived in Rogers Park, circa 1921. The Green Mill was two and a half miles south of where he lived. If Capone drove that 11-mile commute between his lakeshore home on the North Side and the Torrio mob’s South Side joint, he could have stopped in at the Green Mill on his way. But Capone was probably spending most of his nights at his gang’s clubs, brothels, and other joints, far down on the other side of the city. How much time would he have had to loiter at the Green Mill?

By 1922 or so, Al and Ralph Capone were living in the Wolff Apartments at 1841 South Wabash Avenue, along with their fellow gangsters, the Fischetti brothers. “That is about 1922, during that period, 1922–23,” Ralph Capone testified.38 This placed them in the heart of their gang’s territory. (Did they abandon their place in Rogers Park at this time, or hang on to the lease, keeping it as a sort of North Side getaway?)

Capone made news in August 1922, when he drunkenly drove a car into a parked taxi early one morning on Randolph Street near Wabash Avenue in the Loop, injuring the cabdriver. The Tribune reported his name as Alfred Caponi, identifying him as the owner of the Four Deuces. (He may, in fact, have been managing the place for Torrio.)

Capone flashed a deputy sheriff’s badge that he’d somehow managed to obtain, while waving around a revolver and threatening to shoot a witness who said the crash was Capone’s fault. When police arrested Capone, he promised to get one of the officers fired, warning that he’d use his “pull” (the old-fashioned word for “clout”) to “make things unhealthy for prosecutors,” as the Tribune put it. Capone reportedly remarked: “I’ll fix this thing so easy you won’t know how it’s done.” And as it happened, all charges were dropped.39

It’s not clear if Capone still had his apartment in Rogers Park in December 1922, when new owners took over Green Mill Gardens. But those new proprietors may have had connections with the Torrio mob. The building was now partly owned by Otto Annoreno, a Sicilian American businessman. I haven’t found any stories linking Annoreno himself to organized crime, but he was a member of the Unione Siciliana,40 a fraternal group with mob connections.41 And his cousins included some mobsters who worked for Capone, including Joseph Annerino, a.k.a. Joseph “Peppi” Genero.42

Meanwhile, Green Mill Gardens’ new manager was Abe Arends,43 who’d been the floor manager of the mobbed-up Colosimo’s restaurant.44 And the new owner was Joseph G. Glaser, who ran a used car dealership at 1444 to 1448 South Michigan Avenue,45 in an area of the South Side where the Torrio mob was powerful. Glaser ran the Green Mill for just a few months, and it’s unknown whether Glaser had any mob connections at the time. But in the years that followed, as Glaser took over the Sunset Cafe and the Plantation Cafe on the South Side, he became widely known as a Capone associate.46 I haven’t seen any evidence that Capone was involved in the Green Mill during Glaser’s short stint as the proprietor, but their later connection raises the question: Did they meet or starting working together at the Green Mill in late 1922 and early 1923? Capone wasn’t famous yet, so no one would have made much note about seeing him at the Green Mill during this stretch of time.

Chicago Daily Tribune, September 21, 1923.

Capone’s gun permit—and his address in Rogers Park—came to light in September 1923, when the state’s attorney criticized Joseph Mischka, a justice of the peace in Cicero, for the “promiscuous issuance of permits to carry guns.” The Tribune listed Alphonse and Ralph Capone as two of the men who’d received permits from Mischka.47

Chicago Daily News, April 3, 1924.

The Daily News was surprised by Al Capone’s address in Rogers Park. “Alphonse was listed as residing at 6832 Sheridan road in a neighborhood that presumably has little contact with such men as frequent the Four Deuces,” the newspaper observed, apparently finding it hard to believe that a thug would reside in such a respectable neighborhood.48 (As it turned out, 6832 North Sheridan Road would appear in crime news again in 1927, when authorities arrested “West Side” Frankie Pope, a gambling house operator who was living there.49 And in the years to come, other mobsters would take up residence in the West Ridge area just west of Rogers Park.50)

Interestingly, just one day after the Tribune reported Al Capone’s address at 6832 North Sheridan Road in September 1923, a classified ad appeared in the newspaper, offering an apartment for rent in the same building. It was a “four room” on the third floor, available for $100 rent ($1,800 in today’s dollars). Was this the apartment where the Capone brothers had lived? If so, they’d had a view of Lake Michigan from their windows.51

As it happened, Al Capone had just purchased a bungalow at 7244 South Prairie Avenue on the South Side in August 1923, bringing his wife and son from Brooklyn to live with him, along with his mother, younger brothers, and a baby sister.52 Capone made his first appearance in Chicago phone books that November, when he was listed with VIN (Vincennes) 6149 as his phone number.53

November 1923 Chicago white pages, Chicago History Museum.

Whether or not he’d spent much time hanging around Rogers Park and Uptown in the early 1920s, Capone was now firmly ensconced on the South Side.54 By 1924, he had ascended to the No. 2 position in Torrio’s mob, according to Binder.55

In the years that followed, it seems far-fetched that Capone would have shown his face at the Green Mill (and its various incarnations) during those stretches of time when he was battling against the North Side gang. Dozens of mobsters were killed as the gangs fought for control over beer distribution from late 1924 through October 1926. According to the Chicago Crime Commission, there were 197 gangland homicides in Cook County in the years 1925, 1926, and 1927. (Binder concluded that only 108 of these killings were related to bootlegging.)56

This was when Capone became famous, as newspapers in Chicago and around the world reported on the exploits of the powerful mobster nicknamed “Scarface.”57 By stepping inside the Green Mill, Capone would have been intruding on the turf of an enemy force that was trying to assassinate him. Even during the yearlong gang truce that began in October 1926, 58 an appearance by Capone at the Green Mill would have attracted much attention.

Jule Styne reportedly saw Al Capone attending at least one show at the Green Mill sometime around the mid-1920s.

Jule Styne. Wikimedia.

Styne, who later gained fame as the composer of Broadway musicals including Gypsy, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and Funny Girl,59 was playing piano in Chicago jazz bands at the time, including stints in the orchestra pits at Balaban & Katz movie theaters in 1924 and 1925. That work may have included playing at the Riviera Theatre and the Uptown Theatre, both of them very close to the Montmartre Cafe, the venue that had taken over the Green Mill Gardens space at that time.60

In 1959, Styne reportedly started working with Tom Chamales’s son on a musical about Green Mill Gardens in the 1910s and ‘20s. “It was here that Styne broke into show business, playing the piano,” the New York Journal reported, noting that Gypsy star Ethel Merman sat in one of Styne and Chamales Jr.’s conferences about the planned show.61 Tom Chamales Jr. died in 1960, and the musical was never completed.

Theodore Taylor’s 1979 biography, Jule: The Story of Composer Jule Styne, refers to the Green Mill as “a Capone place” in 1924. The book was largely based on interviews with Styne, so it’s possible that Taylor got this information from Styne, but the book didn’t make that clear. This passing reference doesn’t prove much. It may simply indicate that Styne had the impression that Capone ran the Green Mill. Or maybe Styne gleaned this information from his talks with Tom Chamales Jr.

And did Styne forget that the venue had become the Montmartre Cafe by 1924 and was no longer called Green Mill Gardens?62 When Benny Goodman recalled performing at the nightclub around the same time, he also called it “the Green Mill” even though it was the Montmartre Cafe.63 It may simply be that people had a tendency to say “Green Mill” when they remembered the nightclub in the 1920s, even if the venue had different names at various times.

Styne reportedly met Capone in 1927, when the gangster asked him to conduct an orchestra at a weeklong party at the Metropole Hotel, 2300 South Michigan Avenue, which Capone occupied as his mob’s headquarters.64 The party coincided with the boxing match between Gene Tunney and Jack Dempsey at Soldier Field on September 22, 1927.65

Embed from Getty Images

Prior to that meeting in the fall of 1927, “Jule had seen Capone at the Green Mill and once at the Midnight Frolics but had never gotten close to him; had never met him,” Taylor wrote.66 This information probably comes from one of Taylor’s interviews with Styne, but the biographer didn’t quote Styne’s exact words about it.

Styne, who died in 1994, often spoke in interviews about performing for Capone at the Metropole. In 1989, Styne told the Chicago Tribune:

He hired me to play for a party he was throwing on the night of the Dempsey-Tunney fight. There were 500 guests, and you know who they were? About 28 United States senators, 20 governors from across the U.S.—everyone but a Supreme Court judge. That gives you an idea of the kind of power he had. So at one point, Capone comes up and asks me if he can conduct the band in Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.” It’s really incredible when I think about it, but he stood up in front of the band and started conducting the “Rhapsody”—from memory. He really knew the music, and he conducted it for real. He was a strange kind of a fellow, but you never felt nervous working for him. You felt protected for some odd reason.67

I wonder if this anecdote is the source for that tale about the Green Mill’s orchestra supposedly playing Rhapsody in Blue at Capone’s command.

Styne got at least one significant fact about Capone wrong when he talked with Taylor in 1977: He said that Capone “had the North Side” during the gang wars over alcohol distribution and gambling. In reality, Capone was fighting against the North Side gang. The book includes this extended quote from Styne:

More or less, musicians fed off the mob. They still do, to a certain extent; and before I got out of Chicago, I must have worked a couple of dozen mob joints. But those people always seemed to like musicians and I did my job and kept my mouth shut. That whole town was wild in the mid-twenties, as you know, the South Side a rat’s nest. There was a beer war and a gambling war. Every place you turned there were local books. North Clark, Quincy, Dearborn. In cigar stores, basements, hotel rooms. Even aldermen were making book. Capone had the North Side. Ten thousand books, maybe. The gangsters were Italians and Irish and Jews. Capone and Johnny Torrio, the Genna brothers and the Aiello brothers. Nails Morton was a Jewish mob leader. Then I remember Dion O’Banion was shot up in his flower shop. That was sometime in ’24. Guys were shot up all over the place during the beer war. Saltis gang. McErlane gang. Spike O’Donnell’s gang. It wasn’t just Capone. I was in a club one night when a guy started shooting. The intersection of Oak and Milton was called Death City. But as awful as it was, I think music came out of it, was part of it. Jazz was, I know.68

I’m somewhat skeptical about Styne’s sighting of Capone at the Green Mill. When Styne told this story in the 1970s, how well did he remember events from five decades earlier? But the tale can’t be dismissed entirely. As Eig wrote in Get Capone: “Almost every musician and comedian who performed in Chicago in the 1920s had a story about Capone. Some of them may have even been true.”69

Further details of Styne’s stories about Capone and the Green Mill might still be uncovered. The Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin has a collection of Styne’s papers, but archivists there told me haven’t seen anything related to this topic.70 The University of Minnesota Libraries has a collection of papers from Styne’s biographer, Theodore Taylor, but nothing related to the biography.71 However, it’s always possible that relevant documents could turn up somewhere.

Al Capone, from Chicago Gang Wars in Pictures: X Marks the Spot.

Capone’s love of music, including jazz as well as opera, is well documented. He reportedly “owned” or had some sort of control over several nightclubs, including the Plantation Café, Joseph Glaser’s black-and-tan cabaret at 35th and Calumet Streets72; Ike Bloom’s Midnight Frolics, at 20 East 22nd Street73; the Martinique, in southwest suburban Evergreen Park74; the Arrowhead Inn in Burnham75; and the Cotton Club in west suburban Cicero.76

It’s easy to imagine Capone, a jazz aficionado and a sort of entertainment impresario, going to see a show at the Green Mill. (Again, please note that I am using the word imagine.)

If Capone did show up at the Green Mill during this era, there’s no question he would have been noticed. “Capone was a fan,” Cook County judge John H. Lyle wrote. “He and his entourage would enter a cabaret, order all the patrons out and enjoy the music in solitary splendor. On other occasions, in a more gracious mood, he would permit the customers to remain and announce that the drinks were on him. His presence was a bonanza for the entertainers. His tip for the leader was never less than a grand ($1,000) and each musician would receive one or more C notes ($100).”77

The anonymous author of an early 1930s manuscript about Chicago mobsters (published in 2020 as Bullets for Dead Hoods: An Encyclopedia of Chicago Mobsters) reported: “At night clubs or the race tracks … he was always surrounded by as quick-shooting a gang of torpedoes as could be found anywhere outside of a movie. … Whenever Al went stepping, either at the Frolics, or some other night club, he paid the bill with a flourish. He thought nothing of paying $5,000 for one night’s entertainment. Judges, state senators, and holders of municipal offices were brought up smiling to meet the big fellow. They loved it.”78

You would expect to find reminiscences about Capone visiting the Green Mill, but I haven’t found any such stories in old newspapers, books, or court documents—only that vague mention in the biography of Jule Styne. Now, it’s possible such stories do exist. Many old newspapers and archival documents like letters, diaries, and scrapbooks haven’t been digitized, making it more difficult to search through them. Stories might eventually turn up. But for the time being, Capone seems to be the man who wasn’t there.

Vince Gebardi, a.k.a. Jack McGurn

Jack McGurn, whose real name was Vincent Gebardi, supposedly had 25 percent ownership of the Green Mill business in 1927, and he’s often blamed for an attack on entertainer Joe Lewis, who’d left the Green Mill to perform at another nightclub. But it’s far from certain that McGurn truly had any ownership stake in the Green Mill—or exactly when McGurn started working for Capone.

The main source for the McGurn story is Art Cohn’s 1955 book The Joker Is Wild, which was based on Cohn’s interviews with Lewis. There’s good reason to question the accuracy of the book, which gets some facts wrong. But even if the book does tell a true story, it isn’t the story that many people think. The book doesn’t say Al Capone hung out at the Green Mill or owned the place. In fact, it says the nightclub was dominated by Capone’s enemies in the North Side mob, including Vincent “Schemer” Drucci, who was a Green Mill regular.

The way the book tells the story, Lewis thought McGurn was working for the North Side mob and then switched over to Capone. But the book doesn’t make it clear when McGurn changed sides—apparently around the time when Lewis was attacked and hospitalized in late 1927.79

Deadly Valentines, Jeffrey Gusfield’s 2012 biography of McGurn, asserted that McGurn was working for Capone throughout this whole time period. That’s part of the reason why Gusfield concluded it’s “patently untrue” that McGurn was the Green Mill’s part-owner.80

But other sources—including various newspaper articles published in the Prohibition Era—reported that McGurn was affiliated with the North Side mob before he joined up with Capone. The earliest newspaper report I’ve found mentioning McGurn’s allegiance to Capone is from August 10, 192781—a few months before he allegedly orchestrated the attack on Lewis.

It’s conceivable that McGurn did have some role in running the Green Mill, and that Capone was somehow involved, but the facts about all of this are rather murky.

At the time, Danny Cohen was often described as the Green Mill’s owner, but corporation papers filed with the Illinois secretary of state showed that nearly all of the company’s stock was held by Leonard Boltz.82 He was reputedly a member of the Cowboys, a beer-running and gambling gang on the Northwest Side led by Matt Kolb,83 who were part of an alliance with North Side mobsters like George “Bugs” Moran.84

Another organized crime figure, Michael Crowe, had a connection with the Green Mill building: Around 1923, he reportedly had a gambling operation called the Up-Town Social Club on the building’s second floor. Crowe, who had a long history on the North Side, had no obvious connection with Capone.

Al Capone in 1930. Wikimedia.

In the years after 1927, it’s uncertain exactly when Capone would have had an opportune window of time for a visit to the Green Mill. The bloody war between the South Side and North Side gangs continued through May 1929, with dozens of additional homicides, including the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.85

And Capone certainly wasn’t at the Green Mill from May 1929 through March 1930, when he was serving time in a Pennsylvania prison for carrying a concealed weapon.86 Only days after Capone returned to Chicago after his prison stint, the Green Mill was shut down.

Another mobster who allegedly owned or controlled the Green Mill was Ted Newberry. He was allied with Capone’s rivals in the North Side mob until June 1930, when he switched sides to the Capone mob in June 1930.87 But that change in allegiance wouldn’t have given Capone any link to the Green Mill—because the nightclub was out of business at that time.

The former Green Mill became the Lincoln Tavern Town Club for a while, and then it was revived as the Green Mill Ballroom in November 1931—a month after Capone was convicted of tax evasion and locked up at the Cook County Jail, where he was remained until he was transferred to a federal prison in Atlanta the following May.88

A mug shot of Capone in Miami in 1930. Wikimedia.

Considering this whole chronology, it’s hard to find a time when you’d expect to find Capone hanging out at the Green Mill, though we can’t rule out the possibility that he may have visited at some point—perhaps during the early 1920s, before he became famous. Or maybe there’s a kernel of truth in Jule Styne’s story about seeing Capone at the nightclub in the mid-1920s. If Scarface did visit, it wasn’t in the same room where the Green Mill jazz club is today—rather, it was in the cabaret venue with the entrance at 4806 North Broadway.

Capone makes a cameo appearance of sorts in the 1959 novel Go Naked in the World by Tom T. Chamales, son of the Green Mill’s founding owner, Tom Chamales. Now, of course, this is a work of fiction, so it doesn’t prove anything. But parts of it are autobiographical, so it may contain some elements of truth.

The protagonist Nick’s father, a Greek immigrant and theater tycoon named Old Pete Stratton, is clearly patterned after Tom Chamales Sr. In a 1961 movie based on the novel, which changed the setting from Chicago to San Francisco, Ernest Borgnine played the father character.

Go Naked in the World, Warner Archive DVD.

In this passage from the novel, Nick recalls stories he’d heard from a nightclub proprietor named Hy Dennis:

Hy Dennis … had told Nick stories about the days when Old Pete ran his Club which was known as The Mill, and had a big windmill on top of it just like the Moulin Rouge in Paris and sat three thousand people in summer when the gardens were open.

If you ran a place in Chicago, Nick knew, you just naturally did business with the hoods. They controlled the distribution of liquor since back in the days of Capone, through prohibition, and after it. That was a talent in itself, knowing how to do business with them without getting involved or obligated. Old Pete knew how though, Hy had said. Remembering the story Hy had told him about the time during Prohibition when Old Pete had the whisky for The Mill stashed in a building across the street: Thirty thousand dollars of it. And how one night it was all hi-jacked and Old Pete had called Capone as soon as he heard about it, and Capone said he was sorry he didn’t know it was Old Pete’s booze, and how the very same night trucks pulled up to old building across the way from The Mill and the next all the whisky was back, with a couple of hundred extra cases thrown in.89

Obviously, “The Mill” is a thinly disguised fictional version of the Green Mill. Are the other details in this passage drawn from real life, too? Maybe. Tom Chamales did own a building across the street from the Green Mill—the Riviera Theatre. Did the Riviera (or another nearby building) contain a secret storage area for whiskey bottles? We can only speculate.

Note how Capone doesn’t own or control “The Mill” in this story. Old Pete (the stand-in for Tom Chamales) seems to be operating independently of the mob boss, though they have an understanding. Old Pete knew how to do business with mobsters “without getting involved or obligated.” Capone claims that he was unaware that this booze belonged to Old Pete. That indicates Capone wasn’t involved in running the place. But when he apologizes and returns the stash, that seems they show they have an alliance.

Even if these details were rooted in reality, we don’t know how much Chamales Jr. embellished them. Was he using unsubstantiated family lore as fodder for his fiction? Or making it up out of whole cloth? Chamales Jr. was born in 192490 and grew up with his family in Wilmette, so it’s doubtful how much firsthand knowledge he had about what was going on at the Green Mill when he was a young child. In any case, this passage from his novel demonstrates how Capone and mobsters were closely associated with the Green Mill’s image—even in the mind of Tom Chamales’s novel-writing son.

The Green Mill Cocktail Lounge’s current owner, Dave Jemilo, bought the business in 1986. At that time, “all sorts of longtime customers told him personal stories about Capone’s visits to the club,” Robert K. Elder wrote in a 2007 Tribune story.91 Even if people were telling stories like that, how reliable were they, six decades after Capone’s era?

Jemilo said he learned much of the Green Mill’s lore from the previous proprietor, Steve Brend, who started working at the Green Mill in the 1930s and bought the club in 1960. Brend wasn’t there during the Prohibition Era, so he didn’t have firsthand knowledge of anything that happened before the late 1930s. But he said he’d heard stories from Tom Chamales and others.

“He … he knows all the stories,” reporter Robert Ebisch wrote in a 1982 Chicago Reader story featuring an interview with Brend. “… The names and anecdotes roll out in an avalanche: Bugs Moran, Al Capone, Charlie Chaplin, Wallace Beery, Studs Terkel, Milton Friedman…” However, the Reader article didn’t actually quote Brend saying anything about Capone.92

Neither did Jacki Lyden, who interviewed Brend for her 1980 book about Uptown. But she did quote Brend saying something interesting about mob control of the Green Mill. “You might say the Green Mill was in Bugs Moran’s territory then,” Brend told Lyden, talking about 1927. And Brend told Lyden that McGurn was a henchman for Moran.93

Brend claimed that he’d learned what he knew about this story from McGurn himself. “I knew the real story because Jack McGurn told me,” Brend told the Reader. “He used to come in here for a drink, even after Prohibition. I didn’t meet him here, though. I met him downtown before I started working here. He was gunned down in the late ’30s in a bowling alley.”94

Brend’s son Jonathan recently told me that he heard similar stories from his father. Steve Brend came to Chicago in 1935, when he was 18 years old, and started working in a restaurant, Jonathan said. “And Machine Gun Jack McGurn was there,” Jonathan said, recounting his father’s stories. “He left a $1 tip on the table. And my father got the dollar. That’s like 100 bucks back then. My dad asked the boss who that guy was and they said it was Machine Gun Jack McGurn. He was one of the most sharp-dressed people he’d ever seen.”

According to this family lore, McGurn took a liking to the teenager and helped him get a job at the Green Mill. If this story is true, it suggests that McGurn still wielded some influence in the 1930s at the Green Mill Tavern, which Tom Chamales’s brother William was running in the years after Prohibition. But the timing of these events raises questions. In interviews, Steve Brend said he began working at the Green Mill in either 1938 or 1939—a couple of years after McGurn was shot to death, on February 15, 1936.

I asked Jonathan Brend if his father ever said anything about Capone being at the Green Mill. “You know what?” he replied. “All I heard about was McGurn.”

And did Steve Brend ever say he’d heard stories from people who’d seen Capone hanging out at the Green Mill? Jonathan said he’d never heard any stories like that. “I don’t want to make up stuff,” he said.

Tellingly, Steve Brend did not say anything about tunnels, in either the Reader article or Lyden’s book. I suspect that those legends about tunnels gained currency sometime after these interviews appeared in the early 1980s. The legends have certainly grown in the years since, becoming one of the most famous pieces of Green Mill lore.

When I asked Jemilo if he thinks any of the legends about the mob’s involvement at the Green Mill are exaggerated, he said: “I know the tunnels didn’t go to Montrose Beach and there was a trapdoor at Montrose Beach and that’s how the Green Mill got its liquor. I know that’s not true.”95

My friend Bill Savage, a professor at Northwestern University who’s knowledgeable on Chicago history, is an outspoken skeptic about the Green Mill’s alleged tunnels. “This is mythmaking, based on assumptions of organized crime that are not true,” he told the Mental Floss website.96 Savage was even more emphatic in a tweet: “THERE. ARE. NO. TUNNELS. BUILT. BY. THE. OUTFIT. Just standard-for-the-time basement doors and stairways behind bars and between units and the alleys. Al Capone was a ruthless killer, not a structural engineer.”97

Jonathan Brend, who is now 68, played in the basement corridors beneath his father’s nightclub when he was a child in the 1960s. “My brother and me used to play in them all the time,” he said. “It’s pretty spooky down there. … It was scary down there when I was a kid.”

He recalled his father saying that “they’d play card games and shoot dice down there.” Jonathan said the basement included a spot along Lawrence Avenue where an elevator was used to deliver beer, which was stored in walk-in coolers.

Elder’s 2007 Tribune story included a nifty diagram of the Green Mill building and its basement. Alas, you will not see that diagram if you read the archived version of the story on the Tribune’s website. It is available, however, via Newspapers.com.

Chicago Tribune, June 28, 2007.

You can see the Green Mill’s basement for yourself in a 2007 video by thephantomsoundbooth, posted on YouTube.98

What this video shows is that, yes, there are basement corridors running underneath the Green Mill Gardens building. But that isn’t especially strange or surprising.

When Green Mill Gardens opened in 1914, the structure extended from 4800 to 4812 North Broadway, with a courtyard facing Broadway. That courtyard was filled in when the building was expanded in 1921. At that time, the building had a basement running along that whole stretch of Broadway.

“They had the washrooms in the basement so people would come down here to use the washroom, and actually there’s one that still exists,” Ric Addy says as he leads the tour in the video. “Here you see the urinals from the 1920s. I’m sure Al Capone and his gang would hang out down here every now and then, when they needed to.”

Seeing an old subterranean space does spark your imagination. Even if Capone never went down into the Green Mill’s basement, it’s fascinating to think about how the basement may have been used during the Prohibition Era. Gangsters playing cards? Criminals hiding from cops? Nightclub employees stashing booze? Addy says all of these things happened in the basement. None of that can be proved, but some of it may well be true.

Addy was as familiar with this basement as anyone else. His family owned Shake, Rattle & Read, a used book and record store at 4812 North Broadway, from 1965 to 2016.99 That store—which was recently occupied by Provisions Uptown, until it went out of business in early 2024—is in a building adjacent to the Green Mill Gardens structure, but it overlaps with Green Mill Gardens’ original footprint.

When the Uptown Theatre was built in 1924 and 1925, a 25-foot-wide slice at the north end of the Green Mill Gardens building was demolished to make room for the project. And then this 15-foot-wide building at 4812 North Broadway was constructed, sandwiched in between Green Mill Gardens and the Uptown Theatre.100 So, it isn’t especially remarkable that the basement under the store at 4812 connects with the basement under 4802.

But do these underground corridors qualify as “tunnels”? And were there any additional tunnels connecting the Green Mill Gardens basement with other buildings in Uptown? In the video, Addy points out a wall where it looks like an opening was bricked over. He also offers an explanation for why such tunnels existed in the first place: “These old tunnels, they were built in the early 1900s and they brought coal in these little train cars. They brought coal to the different big buildings throughout the city.”

Jonathan Brend also believed that the Green Mill’s basement had once included a tunnel into the Uptown Theatre. And he believed the basement may have been connected with coal tunnels. But he was skeptical of the stories that have circulated about a tunnel connecting the Green Mill with the Aragon Ballroom, roughly one block west. “It don’t think it goes that far,” he said.

It’s true that downtown Chicago had a network of freight tunnels, constructed at the beginning of the 20th century. But those tunnels didn’t extend north of Superior Street, according to Bruce G. Moffat’s authoritative book The Chicago Tunnel Story.101 I asked Moffat if Uptown had similar tunnels.

“I don’t have anything on the Green Mill or any tunnels in Uptown,” he said. “They would be quite different than anything downtown, if they exist at all. The downtown tunnels were very deep (40 feet) and went for miles. I would suspect that anything around the Green Mill would be not too far below street level and would have gone only to a nearby building.”102

Was the Green Mill Gardens basement connected with the Uptown Theatre? I asked David Syfczak, the Uptown Theatre’s longtime caretaker. Here’s what he said:

Regarding the Green Mill building basement floor plan, the storefronts had doorways in the front at the eastern foundation wall that connected the individual storefronts to one another. One could travel from the north end of the basement to the south end through these doors. The north portion of the building was demolished to construct the Uptown Theatre lobby.

The basement doorway that faces north has the theater’s concrete foundation wall blocking further passage. I can see how someone could perceive this as being a blocked “tunnel.” That is the only area in that basement I am aware of where one could think that a tunnel had previously existed.

I believe the basement restrooms were for the outdoor gardens and may have been in use for the second-floor ballroom. They had been constructed prior to Prohibition. To my knowledge the Uptown Theatre, Uptown Bank, Riviera and Green Mill building had individual boilers. There is no evidence that a steam utility existed that fed all of these buildings on a common steam line. Eastern cities like New York had steam utility companies that fed individual buildings.

On a blueprint of the Uptown there is mention of a small passage for steam lines under Lawrence Avenue to the Riviera, but no evidence exists that it was ever constructed. Balaban & Katz owned both theaters at the time. The Uptown has three locomotive-sized boilers that could have provided the heat for both facilities.103

Syfczak’s comment about steam lines on the blueprint is confirmed by a Tribune article from 1924. As construction began on the Uptown Theatre, the newspaper reported there were plans for a tunnel running under Lawrence Avenue, connecting the new movie palace with the Rivera Theatre. “A tunnel will connect the two, so both can be cooled and perhaps heated by the same plants,” the newspaper reported.104

Chicago Daily Tribune, February 3, 1924.

Although Syfczak questioned whether this steam line was actually constructed, Tim Samuelson said he believes there was a steam heating system connecting several buildings in Uptown. He took a tour of the Green Mill building’s basement roughly 50 years ago. At first, Samuelson told me he’d received this tour from the building’s maintenance engineer. But then, Samuelson said he thinks it was actually the Green Mill’s owner at the time, Steve Brend, who showed him around. Samuelson told me:

The story I got touring the basement … was that the central steam heating system connected the Uptown, the Riviera, the bank and the Green Mill—and maybe the Goldblatt’s store. There were indeed passages leading in those directions, but they were more like small passages to accommodate pipes and just enough space for humans to get through for maintenance.

It was definitely not like generous tunnels that could easily be walked through. It was all very utilitarian—and typical of similar shared systems that I encountered in other places. …  Some claim it also connected the Aragon, but that seems pretty extreme given the distance and complexities of sewers and water mains and other utilities typically encountered beneath the streets.105

As Samuelson observed, there are many legends about Al Capone and Prohibition Era mobsters using tunnels. “It’s funny,” he said. “For every building that there is a mob association with, there’s the story of a tunnel.” Other examples include a supposed tunnel connecting two hotels Capone used as his headquarters, the Lexington and the Metropole. Samuelson has even heard rumors of a tunnel under Capone’s house on Prairie Avenue, leading to his garage. “I don’t believe they existed at all, the tunnels,” he said.

It’s not that unusual for a place like the Green Mill to have a trapdoor behind the bar, Samuelson said. “You can find other bars that have original trapdoors behind the bar,” he said. “That is where you stored the … booze. In that way, the bartender could go and serve as the buyer for whatever they need without leaving the bar unattended.”106

This is not the first time Samuelson has offered information debunking a story about subterranean structures supposedly connected with Al Capone. TV producers consulted Samuelson in 1986, before they aired The Mystery of Al Capone’s Vaults, a live broadcast hosted by Geraldo Rivera. As 30 million people watched, Rivera knocked open a wall in the basement of the Lexington Hotel, hoping to find Capone’s secret vault. All he found was dirt and empty bottles.

The Mystery of Al Capone’s Vaults. IMDb.com.

As Samuelson recalled in the One Year: 1986 podcast, he’d told the producers this was a sidewalk vault, used for storage or coal deliveries—nothing like the bank vault they imagined.

“I even tried to tell them, but, well, they didn’t listen to me,” Samuelson recalled.107

Why do people still care about Al Capone? Isn’t Chicago a little too obsessed with this murderous thug who hasn’t ruled over the city for more than nine decades? I confess I’d grown sick of hearing about Capone. I felt like rolling my eyes whenever I heard someone making a dubious claim about Scarface’s supposed connections to yet another place.

I suspect that Capone’s fame begets more fame. It’s the superstar effect. Capone is the most famous gangster who ever lived in Chicago. So, when people hear stories about a gangster in the Prohibition Era, Capone springs to mind—even if the story is about someone else. And then, as the tale gets retold, it gets turned into a Capone story. And let’s face it: Even if you have no interest in glorifying this gangster, it’s tantalizing to imagine Capone once visited a particular place: The famous gangster was here! The most famous gangster of all!

And yet, in spite of my weariness over Capone, here I am, writing thousands of words about him. His looming presence in the city’s history is impossible to ignore.

Al Capone’s FBI criminal record in 1932. Wikimedia.

When Capone burst to worldwide fame in the mid-1920s, thanks to reams of newspaper coverage, he became a symbol of Chicago. “For a time, a good part of the world worried about Alphonse Capone of Chicago, Illinois,” an American Heritage article noted.108 And as many Chicagoans have learned, if you tell people in other parts of the world that you’re from Chicago, an exclamation of Capone’s name is a common response—sometimes accompanied by noises and hand gestures imitating machine gun fire.

In part, this is because Capone outdid America’s other gangsters “in his desire for publicity and his knack for getting it,” Daniel Okrent wrote in Last Call. While so many criminals avoid publicity, Capone enjoyed talking with reporters. He became a character. But while some people admired Capone—treating him as a sort of Robin Hood who was defying the prohibition laws they hated—he undoubtedly was, as Okrent puts it, “a very bad man.”109

When Capone died in 1947, an editorial in the New York Times offered this epitaph: “Al Capone was the symbol of a shameful era, the monstrous symptom of a disease which was eating into the conscience of America. Looking back to it now, this period of Prohibition in full, ugly flower seems fantastically incredible. Capone himself was incredible, the creation of an evil dream.”110

But knowing that Capone was evil doesn’t make him less interesting. It just makes the enigma of this man—and the story of how he became the criminal emperor of a corrupt Chicago—all the more fascinating. Just don’t believe everything you hear about him.



1 Robert K. Elder, “Gangster Underworld?” Chicago Tribune, June 28, 2007, https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-2007-06-28-0706270830-story.html.

2 Lori Kozlowski, “The Mark of Capone: Chicago Violence Then and Now,” Los Angeles Review of Books, August 23, 2012, https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/the-mark-of-capone-chicago-violence-then-and-now/.

3 Jonathan Eig tweet, August 27, 2012, https://twitter.com/jonathaneig/status/240287633962586112.

4 Jonathan Eig, email to author, March 28, 2020.

5 Robert Ebisch, “Whatever Happened to the Green Mill,” Chicago Reader, October 29, 1982, 1-2, 20, 22, 24.

6 “Green Mill Cocktail Lounge,” Wikipedia, accessed December 4, 2023, and March 12, 2024, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Mill_Cocktail_Lounge.

7 Wikipedia.

8 Jonathan Eig, Get Capone: The Secret Plot That Captured America’s Most Wanted Gangster (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2010), 101–102.

9 Anonymous (Hal Andrews), Chicago Gang Wars in Pictures: X Marks the Spot (Rockford, IL: Spot Publishing, 1930), https://archive.org/details/chicagogangwarsi00rock, 24.

10 John Landesco, Organized Crime in Chicago (Chicago: Illinois Association for Criminal Justice, 1929), 1025, 1033, https://hdl.handle.net/2027/uc1.b3115060?urlappend=%3Bseq=221%3Bownerid=9007199274517643-241. Cited source: “Levee Says Goodbye to Big Jim,” Chicago American, May 15, 1920.

11 1900 Chicago city directory, 395, 547, Fold3.com.

12 1904 Chicago city directory, 446, Fold3.com.

13 “Sunday Law Case to Jurors Today,” Chicago Daily Tribune, December 12, 1907.

14 “Plan War as Saloon Case Goes to Trial,” Inter Ocean, December 12, 1907, 7.

15 United Press, “Sunday Saloon Wins in Chicago,” Des Moines (IA) Register, December 28, 1907, 1.

16 Lloyd Wendt and Herman Kogan, Big Bill of Chicago (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1953; Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2005), 132.

17 Laurence Bergreen, Capone: The Man and the Era (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994), 83.

18 “‘Protect Women From Thugs,’ Cry of Aroused Citizens, Who Will Hold ‘Safety Meeting,’” Chicago Examiner, June 11, 1911, 3; “Pastors Assail Beach Rowdies,” Chicago Daily Tribune, June 12, 1911, 3.

19 “Sheridan Park Churches Lead Vice Crusade,” Inter Ocean, January 20, 1913.

20 “Crooks Not Watched, Says South Sider,” Inter Ocean, February 24, 1912.

21 Chicago city directories, 1912–1914, Fold3.com.

22 Ben Hecht, A Child of the Century (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1954), 155–156.

23 Laurence Bergreen, Capone: The Man and the Era (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994), 84.

24 James Doherty, “I Remember Prohibition: Booze, Bootleggers, and Bullets,” Chicago Daily Tribune, February 4, 1951, Grafic Magazine, 2–3.

25 John J. Binder, Al Capone’s Beer Wars: A Complete History of Organized Crime in Chicago During Prohibition (Amherst, NY: Prometheus, 2017), 120.

26 Tim Samuelson, interview, February 24, 2024.

27 Binder, Al Capone’s Beer Wars, 86, 120.

28 Laurence Bergreen, Capone: The Man and the Era (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994), 96.

29 Binder, Al Capone’s Beer Wars, 276.

30 Binder, Al Capone’s Beer Wars, 121; “Al Capone,” Britannica, accessed Jan. 1, 2023, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Al-Capone; Eig, Get Capone, 3–4; Fred D. Pasley, Al Capone: The Biography of a Self-Made Man (Garden City, NY: Garden City Publishing, 1930), https://archive.org/details/alcaponebiograp0pasl, 9; “Al Capone,” FBI, accessed Jan. 1, 2023, https://www.fbi.gov/history/famous-cases/al-capone; Bergreen, Capone, 87.

31 Binder, Al Capone’s Beer Wars, 122; “Crowe Raids Vice Spots on County’s Edge,” Chicago Daily Tribune, January 21, 1921, 17; Seven Gamblers Plead Guilty,” Chicago Daily Tribune, April 15, 1921, 7.

32 “To Ask Supreme Court Ban ‘Gun Toting’ Permits,” Chicago Daily Tribune, September 21, 1923, 3.

33 Bergreen, Capone, 88–89; Binder, Al Capone’s Beer Wars, 121–122.

34 United States Senate, Special Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce, Investigation of Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce: Hearings Before a Special Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce, Part 5: Illinois (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1951), 1226, https://books.google.com/books?id=GstFAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA1231.

35 Chicago Building Permit Ledgers Reel UID CBPC_LB_20 page 111.

36 Susan Saperstein and Peter Fiel, “Murphy In-a-Dor Beds,” Guidelines Newsletter for San Francisco City Guides and Sponsors, archived October 18, 2013, https://web.archive.org/web/20131018050318/http://www.sfcityguides.org/public_guidelines.html?article=203&submitted=TRUE&srch_text=&submitted2=&topic=Inventions.

37 Advertisements, Chicago Daily Tribune, August 28, 1921, part 10, 9; September 3, 1921, 18; September 24, 1921, 19.

38 United States Senate, Special Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce, Investigation of Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce: Hearings Before a Special Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce, Part 5: Illinois (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1951), 1243, https://books.google.com/books?id=GstFAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA1243. Address: “Bomb at Auto Supply House Rocks Vicinity,” Chicago Daily Tribune, May 10, 1924, 1.

39 “Caponi Waves Gun After Crash; Faces 3 Charges,” Chicago Daily Tribune, August 31, 1922, 3; Fred D. Pasley, Al Capone: The Biography of a Self-Made Man (Garden City, NY: Garden City Publishing, 1930), https://archive.org/details/alcaponebiograp0pasl/page/20/mode/2up 20–21.

40 “Otto L. Annoreno,” Broad Ax, April 8, 1922, 2.

41 Binder, Al Capone’s Beer Wars, 103.

42 Italy, Select Births and Baptisms, 1806-1900; DoloresVW64, Vincent (Buffalo) Vallone Family Tree; Mary Jo Wainwright, Wainwright Family Tree; Cyclonetemple, Constantino Family Tree; Z Rainey, ZBR.Pekich Family Tree, accessed March 1, 2024; Ancestry.com; “‘Pepe’ Genero, Capone Ally, Shot to Death,” Chicago Daily Tribune, December 20, 1935, 1.

43 Advertisement, Chicago Daily News, December 13, 1922, 42.

44 “Seized in Federal Liquor Raids,” Chicago Daily Tribune, July 3, 1922, 24; “Cabaret,” Variety, December 15, 1922, 35, https://archive.org/details/variety69-1922-12/page/n117/mode/2up.

45 Advertisement, Chicago Daily Tribune, May 25, 1919, part 9, 21.

46 Terry Teachout, Pop: A Life of Louis Armstrong (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009), 421.

47 “To Ask Supreme Court Ban ‘Gun Toting’ Permits,” Chicago Daily Tribune, September 21, 1923, 3.

48 “Caponi Killing Shows Gun-Licensing Laxity,” Chicago Daily News, April 3, 1924, 1, 3.

49 “Blast Resorts on West Side; Capone Leaves,” Chicago Daily Tribune, November 29, 1927, 1.

50 Tom Nall, “The Gangsters of West Ridge: A Walk Through Chicago’s Roaring 20’s,” Rogers Park/West Ridge Historical Society, September 17, 2019, https://rpwrhs.org/2019/09/17/the-gangsters-of-west-ridge-a-walk-through-chicagos-roaring-20s/.

51 Advertisements, Chicago Daily Tribune, September 22, 1923, 23; October 22, 1923, 37.

52 “Al Capone: The Early Years,” My Al Capone Museum, accessed September 26, 2023, https://www.myalcaponemuseum.com/id242.htm; Jim Craig, “Sister Says Al Capone Is Dear, Kind And Gentle – Mafalda Capone Maritote,” Under Every Tombstone, March 23, 2020,  https://undereverytombstone.blogspot.com/2020/03/sister-says-al-capone-is-dear-kind-and.html.

53 Chicago white pages, November 1923, Chicago History Museum.

54 Bergreen, Capone, 94–95; Dahleen Glanton, “Capone Home Languishes on the Market,” Chicago Tribune, October 28, 2014, https://www.chicagotribune.com/real-estate/ct-al-capone-house-sale-met-20141028-story.html.

55 Binder, Al Capone’s Beer Wars, 122.

56 Binder, Al Capone’s Beer Wars, 276.

57 Eig, Get Capone, 39.

58 Eig, Get Capone, 79; Binder, Al Capone’s Beer Wars, 181.

59 “Jule Styne,” Wikipedia, accessed October 3, 2023, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jule_Styne.

60 Theodore Taylor, Jule: The Story of Composer Jule Styne (New York: Random House, 1979), 37, 39.

61 Ruth Mauzy, “McFadden Says…,” Muncie (IN) Evening Press, September 26, 1959, p. 3.

62 Theodore Taylor, Jule: The Story of Composer Jule Styne (New York: Random House, 1979), 38.

63 Benny Goodman and Irving Kolodin, The Kingdom of Swing (New York: Stackpole, 1939), 42–43.

64 Bergreen, Capone, 226.

65 “The Long Count Fight,” Wikipedia, accessed June 19, 2023, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Long_Count_Fight.

66 Theodore Taylor, Jule: The Story of Composer Jule Styne (New York: Random House, 1979), 44.

67 “Al Capone Wielded a Mean Baton,” Chicago Tribune, November 12, 1989, https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-1989-11-12-8901300743-story.html.

68 Taylor, Jule, 37.

69 Eig, Get Capone, 110.

70 Eric Colleary, email to the author, February 7. 1924.

71 Caitlin Marineau, email to the author, February 8. 1924.

72 Eig, Get Capone, 109; “Plantation Café,” Encyclopedia of Chicago, http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/3491.html.

73 Roy Mack, “The Night the Mob ‘Got’ Joe E. Lewis,” Chicago Daily Tribune, November 27, 1955, magazine, 22–23.

74 Eig, Get Capone, 109; Richard A. Wang, “Nightclubs,” Encyclopedia of Chicago, http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/892.html.

75 Jeffrey Gusfield, Deadly Valentines: The Story of Capone’s Henchman “Machine Gun” Jack McGurn (Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2012), 122.

76 Bergreen, Capone, 244.

77 John H. Lyle, The Dry and Lawless Years: The Crusade Against Public Enemies and Corrupt Officials in Chicago (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1960), 141.

78 Bullets for Dead Hoods, 42–43.

79 Art Cohn, The Joker Is Wild: The Story of Joe E. Lewis (New York: Random House, 1955; New York: Bantam, 1957), 29–30.

80 Jeffrey Gusfield, Deadly Valentines: The Story of Capone’s Henchman “Machine Gun” Jack McGurn (Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2012), 127.

81 “Capone Aid Is Freed in Cinderella Killing,” Chicago Daily News, August 10, 1927, 3.

82 New Green Mill Cafe Inc. corporation papers, Secretary of State (Corporations Division): Dissolved Domestic Corporation Charters, 103/112, Illinois State Archives, Springfield.

83 “Meet Leonard Boltz, ‘Labor Consultant,’” Chicago Daily News, August 17, 1957, 20.

84 “Zuta’s Records Reveal Kalb as Gaming Partner,” Chicago Daily Tribune, August 25, 1930, 9.

85 Binder, Al Capone’s Beer Wars, 199.

86 Bergreen, Capone, 336–337.

87 “Police Smash at Gangs Again; 664 Seized,” Chicago Daily Tribune, June 13, 1930, 2.

88 Eig, Get Capone, 365–373.

89 Tom T. Chamales, Go Naked in the World (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1959; New York: Signet, 1960), 53–54.

90 “Young Novelist Chamales Dies of Asphyxiation,” (Hollywood, CA) Citizen-News, March 21, 1960.

91 Elder, “Gangster Underworld?”

92 Ebisch, “Whatever Happened to the Green Mill.”

93 Jacki Lyden, Landmarks and Legends of Uptown (Chicago: Jacki Lyden, 1980), 31.

94 Ebisch, “Whatever Happened to the Green Mill.”

95 Dave Jemilo, interview, March 11, 2020.

96 Elisa Shoenberger, “The Facts and Fiction of Chicago’s Prohibition-Era Bootlegging Tunnels,” Mental Floss, August 27, 2020, https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/628793/chicago-prohibition-bootlegging-tunnels-facts.

97 Bill Savage, tweet, May 21, 2018, https://twitter.com/RogersParkMan/status/998642411097255940.

98 thephantomsoundbooth, “Ric Addy & The Green Mill,” August 11, 2007, https://youtu.be/pteTeez7a_A.

99 Micah Uetricht, “Shake Rattle & Read Prepares to Close,” Chicago Reader, January 19, 2016, https://chicagoreader.com/arts-culture/fans-say-thank-you-for-the-music-as-shake-rattle-read-prepares-to-close/.

100 Landmark Designation Report: Uptown Square District, 25, 50.

101 Bruce G. Moffat, The Chicago Tunnel Story: Exploring the Railroad “Forty Feet Below.” Bulletin 135 of the Central Electric Railfans’ Association (Chicago: Central Electric Railfans’ Association, 2002), 86, 131, 133.

102 Bruce Moffat, email, January 20, 2023.

103 David Syfczak, email, April 3, 1923.

104 Al Chase, “Start Work on City’s Biggest Movie Tomorrow,” Chicago Daily Tribune, February 3, 1924, part 9, 23.

105 Tim Samuelson, email, February 2, 2023.

106 Tim Samuelson, interview, February 24, 2024.

107 “The Mystery of Al Capone’s Vaults,” One Year: 1986 podcast transcript, September 1, 2022, https://slate.com/transcripts/TmE5VktrZ3BKdWduSHBxWVQ1aXlWY0QxUm1WRkFLaEZKSFVOSzVTU25KUT0=.

108 John G. Mitchell, “Said Chicago’s Al Capone: ‘I Give The Public What The Public Wants…,’” American Heritage 30, no. 2 (February/March 1979), https://www.americanheritage.com/said-chicagos-al-caponei-give-public-what-public-wants.

109 Daniel Okrent, Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition (New York: Scribner, 2010), 322.

110 “End of an Evil Dream,” editorial, New York Times, January 27, 1947, 20. https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1947/01/27/99268149.pdf?pdf_redirect=true&ip=0.