John Condon was born in Indiana, and became one of Chicago's great gambling kings. An early associate of Mike McDonald, Condon later developed major gambling innovations, including the world's first gambling boat, the City of Traverse, which he operated together with Big Jim O'Leary.
Condon's business was diminished somewhat by his declining eyesight, by which he earned his moniker. But he was still able to purchase a very large Victorian home here, at 2623 S. Michigan, which had previously been occupied by one of Chicago's foremost families. He was an avid art collector, once outbidding J.P. Morgan in 1905 for the works of an old master.
After McDonald's decline from power, Condon and Mont Tennes slowly monopolized the handbook business in Chicago, based from Condon's race track, the Harlem, in Forest Park. Monopoly is a dangerous business though; in 1907, a gamblers' war broke out between the Tennes operation and a Loop syndicate run by Tom McGinnis. The first shot over the bow was a bombing on July 9, 1907, here at the Condon family home. No one was hurt. Throughout the remainder of 1907 and 1908, dynamite was a common occurrence at the homes of the city's top sports, including three times at Tennes' home alone. Condon's favorite slogan was a gamblers' creed: "Every man has his price, somewhere between a cigar and a million dollars."
Blind John Condon died at age 61 in 1915.