Monday, October 27, 2008
Al Capone had been in Chicago only about a year when he purchased this home at 7244 S. Prairie Ave in the summer of 1922. Capone was finding success in the Johnny Torrio organization, and had earned enough to afford this middle-class house in a sleepy South side neighborhood, about eight miles south of downtown Chicago, and 13 miles from his business operations in Cicero. It remained Capone's official address for the rest of his life, and the deed remained in the family until the 1950s.
Here, Capone installed his long-suffering wife, Mae, his only child, Sonny, plus his widow mother Teresa, and younger siblings Albert, Mimi, Matthew, and Mafalda. The home, fortified by iron bars in the basement windows (still visible today) and a massive brick garage with a car always at the ready, remained a safe place for the Capone family for thirty years. Teresa continued living here until her passing in 1952, after which the house was sold.
Starting in the 1950s, the Irish and Italian immigrants who had previously populated the neighborhood, were replaced primarily by African-Americans. Other than that, the neighborhood remains a quiet, family-oriented area to this day.