ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Al Capone Slept Here

Updated on October 17, 2011

Growing up in suburban Chicago, tripping over stories about Al Capone, the famous 1920’s mobster was about as easy as turning around. The most memorable, however, was that of the (in)famous Alton Hotel. The hotel stood for almost 100 years at the corners of Cicero Avenue and Cermak Road.

When Chicago city officials tired of the gangland shootings, spurred on by the murder of a reporter, allegedly on the mob’s payroll, Capone moved his business enterprises to the neighborhood suburb of Cicero. Shooed out of a high class Chicago hotel where he kept his mistresses, Capone moved to the Alton.

However, by the 1990’s, the hotel has repeatedly changed hands repeatedly and was being used as a by-the-night flop house for local prostitutes and drug addicts. The roof of the building next door was littered with syringes from junkies who has opened hotel windows and thrown them when police were called by neighbors.

Large luxurious hotel rooms had been chopped into pieces by owners eager to manage every potential space which could be rented by the hour by prostitutes. Amenities like copper pipes, luxurious bath fixtures, a piano bar and ornate lobby had been stripped away and sold off a piece at a time. Repeated housing, safety and fire code violations forced the building’s sale to the neighboring bank, a sale that guaranteed the building’s demolition to make way for a parking lot. Town residents rejoiced.

In the former lobby, a rack of skeleton keys remained behind the desk. A large room off to one side served as a junk room. But there were hints to a stellar history. There was a stamped tin ceiling. And if you could look past the dust and cob webs, you couple almost see the day, in the roaring 20’s, when a large black sedan cruised slowly past, westbound on Cermak Road. A machine gun barrel appeared from a partially-rolled down back windows and the hotel’s restaurant was riddled by gun shots.

Historic rumor has it that a gangland rival sent henchmen to assassinate Capone. But he wasn’t present. So a message was sent. The windows shattered, the piano player hit the floor, and fancy gents and their girls, dressed in the style of high society of the day were terrified.

Though not verified, urban myth had it the hotel, originally called the Hotel Anton, was named after Capone’s younger brother. When the first round of sales took place, rather than replace the sign, the new owner opted to replace one letter to save money on the large neon sign outside the building.

Another old story by people who heard it from people stated that there were multiple exits in the basement. Each led underground and open into a home’s basement blocks away. The concept was that when there were police raid, villains could escape the building and fade away.

The sale of the hotel led to a great deal of speculation. Bank officials announced the takeover on Jan. 1st and the demolition 10 days later. People anticipated another vault, or at least prove or disprove the rumors swirling around the property.

Unfortunately, when the wrecking ball was through and the debris hauled away, all that was left was am empty foundation. No secret passages, no safe, no Capone-related items at all.

But I still have a skeleton key.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Winter Maclen profile image
      Author

      Chris 5 years ago from Illinois

      Wow. I remember seeing those things in the late 80's but it looked so much different then. I can recall that beautiful tin ceiling in what had been the bar though.

    • profile image

      Kevin Johnson 5 years ago

      I used to help out at the Alton in late 70's, early to md 80's, the place turned into a real nightmare!! Big Al had to be turning over in his grave. Yes. it got run over by prostution and drugs but, it still had alot of beauty...Like the old time swichboard in the lobby, the storage room to the left that once was the lounge with extremely beautful carved woodworking along wth the mahogeny trim that set the bar aglow, way too much to mention!! I would have to seen it during it's hayday!!

    • Winter Maclen profile image
      Author

      Chris 7 years ago from Illinois

      the hotel became a parking lot and if she had any secrets, she took them with her to the land fill.

    • tsmog profile image

      Tim Mitchell 7 years ago from Escondido, CA

      Funny a -skeleton- key. You unlocked a small closet of skeletons with a different key. The key to imagination. What really happen there within the cloak of historical significance. Now it is what a ghost of sorts?

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)