"In the beginning"


The views expressed in this blog are not necessarily the views of the blog management, (on the other hand, they are not necessarily not the views of the blog management).

No effort has been made to stay within the bounds of the truth in this blog as it has always been the view of the management that the truth should never be allowed to stand in the way of a good story.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Saint Valentines Day

Here are some traditional Valentines Day images that you will find
everywhere over the next few days.

................................Happy Valentines Day

And now for something completely different here is the story of the
1929 St Valentines Day massacre in Chicago

For a city that is so filled with the history of crime, there has been
little preservation of the landmarks that were once so important to the
legend of the mob in Chicago.

Gone are the landmarks like the Lexington Hotel, where Al Capone kept
the fifth floor suite and used the place as his headquarters.

But most tragic, at least to crime buffs, was the destruction of the
warehouse that was located at 2122 North Clark Street.

It was here, on Valentine's Day 1929, that the most spectacular mob hit in gangland history took place..... the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.

The building was called the S-M-C Cartage Company and was a red, brick structure on Clark Street.

The events that led to the massacre began on the morning of the 14th. A group of men had gathered at the warehouse that morning, set up by a Detroit gangster who told Moran that a truck load of bootleg booze was on its way to Chicago.
Bugs Moran was already late for the morning meeting, he was due to arrive at 10:30 but didn't even leave for the rendezvous, in the company of Willie Marks and Ted Newberry, until several minutes after that.

While the seven men waited inside of the warehouse, they had no idea that a police car had pulled up outside, or that Moran had spotted the car and had quickly taken cover.

Five men got out of the police car, three of them in uniforms and two in civilian clothing. They entered the building and a few moments later, the clatter of machine gun fire broke the stillness of the snowy morning.

Soon after, five figures emerged and they drove away, when neighbors went to check and see what was going on... they discovered a bloody murder scene.

Moran's men had been lined up against the rear wall of the garage and had been sprayed with machine-guns. They killed all seven of them but had missed Bugs Moran. He had figured the arrival of the police car to be some sort of shakedown and had hung back.

When the machine gunning started, he, Marks and Newberry had fled.

The murders broke the power of the North Side gang and Moran correctly blamed Al Capone.
No one will probably ever know who the actual shooters were, but one of them was probably Machine Gun McGurn, one of Capone's most trusted men.
Moran was proclaiming that "only Capone kills guys like that".
Moran was right.... Capone had been behind the killing and this was perhaps the act that finally began the decline of Capone's criminal empire.

He had just gone too far and the authorities, and even Capone's adoring public, were ready to put an end to the bootleg wars.

Chicago, in its own style, memorialized the warehouse on Clark Street.

The place became a tourist attraction and the newspapers even printed the photos of the corpses upside-down so that readers would not have to turn their papers around to identify the bodies.
In 1949, the front portion of the S-M-G Garage was turned into an antique furniture storage business by a couple who had no idea of the building's bloody past.

They soon found that the place was visited much more by tourists and curiosity-seekers than by customers and eventually closed the business.

In 1967, the building was demolished. However, the bricks from the bullet-marked rear wall were purchased and saved by a Canadian businessman.
In 1972, he opened a night club with a Roaring 20's theme and rebuilt the wall, for some strange reason, in the men's restroom. Three nights each week, women were allowed to peek inside at this macabre attraction.

The club continued to operate for a few years and when it closed the owner placed the 417 bricks into storage. He then offered them for sale with a written account of the massacre.

He sold the bricks for $1000 each, but soon found that he was getting back as many as he sold.

It seemed that anyone who bought one of the bricks was suddenly stricken with bad luck in the form of illness, financial ruin, divorce and even death.
According to the stories, the bricks themselves had somehow been infested with the powerful negative energy of the massacre!
Whatever became of the rest of the bricks is unknown..........

Or that's what the legend says....

The garage was located at 2122 North Clark Street and the area is now marked by a fenced lawn and five trees. The center tree marks the area where Bugs Moran's men met their deaths.


Ms. Vickie said...

Oh love is in the air or what some think love to be this time fo the year---Valentine's Day will most likely be just another day for me--I think Carl does not have a romantic bone in him but he is the sweetest man all year around.

Thanks for the great history lesson.

Peter you are one of the good ones here, thank you for being you.

Raggedy said...

What a fascinating story. I enjoyed your post very much. Thank you for sharing it with us. I heard a lot about that era but not that particular story.
Have a wonderful day!
(=':'=) hugs
(")_ (")Š from
the Cool Raggedy one

Christina said...

Fascinating story, and well told.

Thanks for the visit, Peter! I was out of town all last week and have been sick since I got home. Wrote a short post to that effect - will try to do better in a few days.

Hale McKay said...

Peter, I have taken the liberty of citing you and wazza as Professors of Australian history and culture in my post Bone of Contention of 2/11.

There will be the airing of the movie and several specials on the cable outlets regarding the St. Valentine's Day Massacre on what day, but 2/14 here.

Jamie Dawn said...

I hope they didn't use any of those bricks to build our house.

Merle said...

Hi Peter ~~ Thanks for the story,
but I prefer Flowers and chocolates
to Bullets for Valentine's Day.
Have a happy one. Glad you liked those strange words. They were fun to type. I hear you had rain, lucky you. We need it desperately down here. Take care, Cheers, Merle.

Jeanette said...

Hi Peter.
Great Saint Valentines Story,
I think ill follow Merle with Flowers and Chocolates.
Take care, Jan

Cliff Morrow said...

Ahhh, another heart warming story from Peter. If that won't put you into the romantic mood, nothing will.
Seriously Peter, great lesson. I had forgotten what I knew about that part of our history.
Do you have a 'hot' date lined up for VD? :}

Walker said...

I know this styory so well and i have a picture og the garage with the blood stained floor.
I am a bit of a mafia buff and know quite a bit about their history.

Here is a question for you, I know they dont celebrate Valetines day in NZ but do they in Aussie?

Peter said...

Walker, Valentines Day has become a lot more popular in Australia over the last 20 years or so but it isn't as universal as in the U.S.
Thanksgiving, not at all.
Halloween, very little
Christmas and Easter, both huge celebrations
Australia Day and Anzac Day are the biggies for patriotism.

Rachel said...

Goodness, what a story for Valentine's Day Peter!

I hope you have a wonderful one!!

TorAa said...

Shit happens... I remember seeing the Al Capone b/w movie made in the end of the 50's. But I have never ever done the link to VD, as we don't celebrate it (well, strong commercial interests try to get us into it - but I believe in VD behaviour every day).

Have a nice VD :))


Joy Des Jardins said...

Yep, that's our ChiTown Peter. We have such memorable landmarks. Leave it to Chicago mobsters to make such a statement on Valentine's Day. Heck and I only send cards and candy.

I love that first picture Peter of the wine and roses....beautiful.
Happy V-Day Peter...and I swear, I'm only armed with love.

Lee said...

Happy St. Valentine's Day, Peter...it's all a bit of good fun...and fun is great! :)

Meow said...

Thanks for the history lesson, Peter. Like Merle, I prefer flowers and chockies, to bullets !!
Hope your Valentines Day is a good one.
Take care, Meow

Marcus said...

Just given me a great idea, Chocolate bullets for Carolyn!

Cazz said...

Hey Peter,

Well must agree with Marcus .. chocolate bullets.. YUMMY!!!
Actually chocolate in any shape, size, or form .. after all it is the 6th food group !!

Happy valentines day

Take care