Saturday, August 30, 2008
Johnny Torrio, the second great gang leader of Chicago, ran a tough dive called The Four Deuces, located where this empty lot now stands, at 2222 S. Wabash. After taking over leadership from "Big Jim" Colosimo, Torrio consolidated prostitution, gambling, and liquor operations throughout the city. He also hired a young Brooklyn-born gangster named Alphonse Capone, who had recently arrived in Chicago. Torrio himself was from Brooklyn, and had known Capone when the latter was a boy. Thus, he trusted "Scarface" to run some of his cribs and collect protection money. So effective and brutal was Capone's reputation on the streets of Chicago, that he was quickly elevated to the post of manager of the Four Deuces, and this remained Capone's headquarters after Torrio left Chicago.
In 1924, Capone moved his headquarters a few blocks west to the luxurious Hotel Metropole at 2300 S. Michigan, currently being developed as a condominium, where Capone's gang controlled two floors and sixty hotel rooms, patrolled at all times by heavily-armed gunmen. The basement of the Hotel held $150,000 worth of wine and liquor at the height of national Prohibition.
The site of the Metropole is currently being redeveloped as a condominium.