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Gangland Connection

June 2024
1min read


When I was a seventh grader in the early 1940s, I delivered papers (the old tabloid Chicago Times ) to houses on the 7200 block of South Prairie Avenue. Someone told me that Al Capone’s mother lived in one of the houses on the route. The subscribers at that house didn’t use the name Capone, but when I collected for the paper, a polite, softspoken, and very Italian-looking fellow would pay me.

I didn’t keep the route long, so I had little opportunity to verify the Capone connection. But as I made my way in the world during the course of a Navy career, the fact that I was born and raised in Chicago often elicited remarks about its gangster past. I would pipe up that I was part of that history: I used to deliver papers to Al Capone’s mother.

As the years went by, I began to doubt the story. After all, it was hearsay; the occupants of the house used a different name, and to the best of my knowledge, Al Capone conducted his business in other parts of the city. My fragile tie to his world came to seem like something 1 might have invented to make myself appear more important than I was.

Then I saw the article on Capone’s Chicago in your April 1995 issue, with the photograph of the house at 7244 South Prairie. It was exactly as I remembered it, even to the placement of the porch on the right (north) side. I was vindicated.

I only wish I had met the old lady.

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