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The Hawthorne Hotel
The Hawthorne Hotel. The restaurant part to the left was machine gunned in September of 1926 by The Northsiders hunting for Al Capone. This was in response to Dean O'Banion's 1924 murder by the Southside gang.
Incorruptible William Emmett Dever is elected Mayor from 1923 - 1927, making the Torrio / Capone move their operations to the suburb of Cicero. There they pay off officials and run their booze, gambling and prostitution business unimpeded.
Hymie plans a on the spot attack against Capone in Cicero September 20,1926, eight car loads of Northsiders drive past Capone's headquarters.They let loose with a first volley of blanks from a machine gun to make any Capone gangsters appear, but none show up as Capone himself is thrown to the ground by his bodyguard Frank Rio.The real shooting begins and about a 1,000 rounds* are poured in the Hawthorne Hotel. (Blanks being used were questioned by many historians. It's quite possible that they shot the thompson machine gun in the air to make the hotel occupants come out).
* The amount of bullets are grossly exaggerated. The amount may have been something like two hundred bullets in total when you factor the amount of men and cars. Maybe one Thompson submachine gun with a hundred round clip, several pistols a shot gun or two. Someone had suggested recently 2000 rounds? Lunacy! That is way off base and would equal 100 Thompsons with 20 round clips or 40 Thompson submachine guns with 50 round drums or 20 Thompsons with 100 round drums. I don't even think all the gangs combined in Chicago at that time had 20 Thompsons.
September 20, 1926.
1929 Cicero listing with Theodore Anton's brothers as owners of his hotels (Dan and Nick). His wife Irene is also listed.
Chicago Evening Post reporter Jone Quinby Griggs (right) standing with another reporter in front of Western Hotel (Hawthorne) hoping to interview Al Capone's wife Mae. (1930)
By 1932, the Hawthorne was renamed The Western Hotel and still making news after Capone left.
Chicago tribune April 12, 1932.
Photo circa 1939. The Hawthorne renamed the Suburban Hotel .
The old Hawthorne hotel in the late 20's becomes The Western, and then The Surburban Hotel in the 30's. In it's final years, it becomes The Towne Hotel, owned by Joe Aiuppa when it burns down on February 17,1970.
The Towne, once known as the Hawthorne Hotel was the target of Hymie's machinegun caravan. The restaurant part of the hotel was where Capone was dining when the bullets hit. Theodore Anton's brother Nick Anton, and his remaining brothers continue on with the hotel business, owning both the Anton and Western hotels. Nick has his share of troubles with the law, especially immigration who want him sent back to his native Greece. Shortly after Theodore's death, The Anton Hotel is renamed The Alton. That hotel will be demolished in January of 1994.
Nick Anton eventually lost his hotels and moved out to California. He made his living as a waiter in San Francisco, and passes away in Watsonville (Santa Cruz), California on October 20,1997 at age 95.
Funny to note that great author Bill Helmer visited the hotel just before it burnt down in the early 70's. The goon looking desk clerk asked Helmer what he wanted. Helmer had asked about the Weiss drive by shooting in 1926 against Capone, to which the desk clerk seriously replied, "I don't know nuttin", "I wasn't dare".
The Hawthorne Smoke Shop
Token from the Hawthorne Smoke Shop located close to the Hawthorne Hotel. Capone picked up his cigars here.
(Mario Gomes Collection).
4835 W. 22nd
In the early 1920's, 4835 W 22nd was originally K.D. Brown's Billard room owned by a boxer named "knock out" Brown. It was a place to shoot pool and smoke cigars. In the basement was a makeshift ring for boxing. There was later a wild story that these posts would later be claimed to be a Capone torture chamber. Next to it stood the Anton Hotel and the Anton Restaurant. In 1924, when Capone and the outfit officially settled in the Hawthorne Hotel at 4823 W 22nd, the billard room was now a restaurant named the Horsemans Headquarters. Shortly after Capone's arrival, it became the Hawthorne Smoke Shop, a place where men (mostly Capone gang members) could gather to smoke cigars and gamble. Theodore Anton had leased all of these buildings with the hopes to eventually own them all. The successful boxer was getting heavily into real estate. Shortly after Theodore Anton's murder in November of 1926, the Hawthorne Smoke Shop became the Greyhound restaurant and club. Ralph Capone ran the joint and it was mostly a mob hangout. If you wanted to get into the club, then you had to know someone. Investigators got a chance to get in and look around and made note of the floor plans. Beer could be had for 25 cents a glass and a mixed drink consisting of whiskey and ginger ale was 75 cents.
K.D. Brown Billiards 4835 W 22nd circa 1923.
Basement of 4835 W 22nd. It was connected to the other building such as the Anton hotel and it's restaurant. A 1926 raid by authorities claimed these posts were a torture device used by the Capone gang. This was disproven and were simply posts used as a makeshift boxing ring by K.D. Brown who had owned the billiard hall in 1923.
4835 W. 22nd as Horsemans Headquarters. After it's brief reign as The Hawthorne Smoke shop, It later became the Greyhound around late 1927 early 1928, and ran until early 1930, when it later became known as the Montmartre.
Daily Free Press May 1930.
Chicago Tribune July 1930.
(Wickersham Report on the National Commission on Law Observance)
By mid 1930, Ralph had changed the club name to the Montmartre Cafe. Some historians mistakenly think that the Montmartre and Greyhound are two different dives. It's one and the same with just the name changing.
1929 Cicero Directory.
(Mario Gomes Collection)
SEE Theodore Anton