Gangster Tour

From HistoryWiki

The Rogers Park/West Ridge Historical Society has conducted two Gangster Tours. The first was held October 10, 2010, 1:30 - 4:30 p.m. The starting point was Rub BBQ, 2407 W. Lunt Avenue.

The second was held on May 6, 2012, also 1:30 - 4:30 p.m. Both tours were outside visits--only. They did not enter any of the sites on the tour. The starting point was DLD Cafe and Grill, 6934 N. Western Avenue.

First Tour

On Sunday, October 10, 2010 from 1:30 to 4:30, the Rogers Park/West Ridge Historical Society will hold its first neighborhood “Gangsta Tour.” Few people know that over the years our LOVELY, peaceful neighborhood has been the setting for some of the city’s most horrendous murders as well as home to some of Chicago’s most notorious crime figures. In the 1920s and 1930s, West Ridge was the stomping ground of North Side crime boss George “Bugs” Moran, Al Capone’s main rival for control of the city’s rackets.

RPWRHS docents will lead the group on a walking tour of major points of interest and provide a commentary on the residences and surrounding neighborhood. The total distance walked will be around 1.5 miles so bring your walking shoes. Details about where we will meet will be sent to those who register. .

Registration is limited, so sign up soon. Registration is $24 for RPWRHS members, $30 for nonmembers. Sign up on the Society’s website or call 773-764-4078.

Some High Points of the Tour:

Home of Timothy D. “Big Tim” Murphy on Morse Avenue. Murphy was a Chicago mobster and labor racketeer who controlled several major labor unions during the 1910s and early 1920s. He founded an Irish American gang which became one of Chicago's first organized crime organizations and was one of the few respected by Al Capone. Murphy was involved in many crimes, including murder, and served seven years in Leavenworth.

He was shot and killed as he answered the front door of his home on the night of June 26, 1928, and you can see the bullet holes to this day. His murder was never solved.

John U. “Jack” Zuta was an accountant and political “fixer” who lived on Artesian Avenue. He began working for Al Capone in the mid-1920s but later defected to Moran’s North Side Mob. In June 1930, Zuta supposedly ordered the death of Chicago Examiner reporter Jake Lingle after Lingle tried to extort money from Moran’s gambling operations. He was never indicted and fled Chicago for Wisconsin, where in 1930 he was killed by unidentified gunmen. He kept meticulous records which after his death led to the uncovering of widespread corruption among city and state officials.

Giuseppe “Joe” Aiello was the boss of the Sicilian Mafia in Chicago in the 1920s and early 1930s . Aiello and his family owned a food importing business as well as a bakery near Division and Clyborn. He had a longstanding, bloody feud with Al Capone (a Neapolitan) and in the process formed an alliance with Bugs Moran. The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre was in part a retaliation for Aiello’s activities. Aiello built a three-story fortress-like house for himself and his family on Lunt Avenue but was unable to escape Capone’s revenge. In October 23, 2010 he was gunned down at the corner of West End and Kolmar Avenues.

Second Tour

A spring shower didn’t stop Society members from enjoying the Society’s second neighborhood Gangster Tour on Sunday, May 2, 2012. The tour was conducted by Board members Glenna Eaves and Colleen Sen.

From the “Roaring Twenties” onward, West Ridge was home to some of the city’s most notorious crime figures, who were attracted by the fine homes and peaceful environment. This was the stomping ground of North Side crime boss George “Bugs” Moran, Al Capone’s main rival for control of the city’s rackets.

Stops on the tour included the outsides of the homes of "Big Tim" Murphy, union organizer, racketeer, and North Side gambling baron; Jack Zuta, Bugs Moran’s business manager and mob enforcer; and Joey Aiello, sworn enemy of Al Capone, and known as the toughest gangster in Chicago. Most of them met an untimely end. Murphy was even gunned down right on his own front lawn on Morse Avenue! You can see the bullet holes in the house to this day.

Just as they reached Colleen Sen’s house (scene of a notorious break-in and murder in 1930), a violent storm broke out. So the group adjourned to Colleen’s house for a glass of wine and an informal seminar on North Side gangster lore.

The tours visited the following locations

7002 W. Western Avenue, The Aiello dynamite cache.

2553 W. Lunt Avenue, Joe Aiello and Dominic Aiello’s home.

2525 W. Morse Avenue, "Big Tim" Murphy’s home.

2557 W. Farwell Avenue, Murder scene.

6733 N. Artesian Avenue, Frank Stark’s home.

6719 N. Artesian Avenue, Jack Zuta’s home.

2650 W. Albion Avenue, H.B. Rance’s home