Leone, Sam

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Sam Leone was personally responsible for having saved over 500 people from the ravages of Lake Michigan. Sam found a dilapidated boat in the Chicago River and brought it to Touhy Beach where boys working in the workshop fiber-glassed the rotting hull to make the hulk into Sam’s boat, Alert, which was put into lifeguard service.

Sam and his family supposedly lived at 1222 W. Touhy Avenue, but most of the time, they made their home in the 3-story green and white crew house on the water's edge.

The early bosses at Rogers Park Beach were a transient bunch. From 1919 to 1925, the beach had three different directors. The fourth director, Sam Leone, arrived in 1925 and stayed for 40 years (1965).

You can learn more about this by reading:

Sam’s Boys: The History of Chicago’s Leone Beach and Legendary Lifeguard Sam Leone, by Chris Serb (©2000, ISBN 0-615-11408-3). It is available for purchase through the Rogers Park/West Ridge Historical Society.

See also: Leone Beach Park


RPWRHS photo S088-008 shows Rogers Park and Beach, (now Leone Beach Park), 1222 W. Touhy Avenue. Sam Leone can be seen sitting on the lower level railing. Circa 1950.

RPWRHS photo S088-009 shows the Hodge Family thanking Sam Leone, circa 1950.