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Theodore "The Greek" Anton
Taylor Anton's early boxing days when he was known as the "Greek Anton".
(Mario Gomes collection)

Young greek boxer. Born September 2,1891, he is the son of John and Georgitsa Anton. Brother of James, Daniel and Nicholas.
Young Theodore begins his youth as an aspiring pugilist. In November 9,1907, Anton loses a battle by decision against one Henry Binno in Milwaukee,Wisconsin. On November 28,1908, Bobby Welsh of Cincinnati defeats Anton in Milwaukee. After many sucesses, the losses begin to accumulate and Theodore throws in the towel. Not like most boxers,Theodore also had brains with his brawn. He is a thrifty person who puts away all his winnings. With his winnings, he purchases real estate, notably in Cicero. He owns most of the 4800 block on West 22nd street.The Hawthorne Hotel,Smoke shop,The Anton hotel and The Anton restaurant were all his. In 1926 he purchases the southwest corner of Mannheim road and 22nd street,Westchester for $50,000. Before his death, Anton had planned to build a five story building worth $250,000 on this site.

Theodore Anton the businessman.

It is well known that once the gangsters were pushed out of Chicago by Mayor Dever, most fled to Cicero.
Anton and his brother Nick are well acquainted with the underworld types. Most boxers come across people in the underworld who are their managers. Torrio, Capone and the lot, have all backed a boxer at one time or another.
Anton becomes good friends with Capone.The gangsters move in the Hawthorne, making it their headquarters.It's also good business for Anton, who profits from visitors and tourists who eat in his restaurant during the Hawthorne Sportsman track races.
Many times Capone visits Anton at his restaurant to have a cup of coffee and just shoot the breeze.
In 1926, Anton had placed a restraining order on the police for having raided his hotel. Police searched out Capone there, after Assitant State Prosecutor William McSwiggin was machinegunned along with his drinking buddies. (They were hit by Al himself or members of the Capone gang).
On May 6,1926, the tables are turned as a special grand jury returns an indictment against Anton on being the keeper of a disorderly house. (Hawthorne Hotel).

Anton in police custody

Anton is last seen alive on Sunday, November 28,1926. That evening, he left with a large sum of cash and rings worth $1,500.  His wife was distraught as to where her husband could have went. She claimed he had no enemies. His brother Nick was contacted to shed some light on Anton's whereabouts.The two had been quarreling a few days before his disappearance. A big drop in business at his hotels were mainly due to police raids but especially after a spectacular September 1926 ambush by Hymie Weiss' and his eight carload machinegunning caravan, who raked the facades of Anton's buildings.This definitely was bad for his tourist business.
Some disagreements with his gangster friends surely followed after these newspaper publicized events.

It had been recently uncovered that Anton was fed up with the trouble his gangster associations were bringing him. He had changed the name of Hawthorne Hotel and re-christened it The Western Hotel.

Hawthorne Hotel / restaurant next to Anton's Hotel / restaurant right after Hymie Weiss' 1926 eight car caravan machinegun blast into the Hawthorne.
Capone escapes unhurt while hiding in the Hawthorne restaurant.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Helmer)

Token from Hawthorne Smoke Shop
(Mario Gomes Collection)

Irene, Theodore Anton and Irene's sister Koula.
(The John Pappas collection)

Irene and Theodore.
(Photo courtesy of Mr. John Pappas, Chicago).

Irene Tourlas and Theodore Anton in 1924, when they were engaged to be married.
(Photo courtesy of Mr. John Pappas, Chicago).

Irene was the more Americanized of the Tourlas sisters.
(Photo courtesy of Mr. John Pappas, Chicago).

Theodore and Irene in Chicago married January 25, 1925.
(Photo courtesy of Mr. John Pappas, Chicago).

Once Hawthorne Hotel, now a parking lot next to the once still standing  and re-christened Alton (Anton) hotel and restaurant. This was taken in the mid 80's. Today the Alton today is also gone.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Helmer)

Anton Hotel circa early 1920's. Billiard place to the left will become the Hawthorne Smoke Shop shortly thereafter.
(Photo courtesy of Mr. John Pappas, Chicago).

Anton getting a haircut at the barbershop/ billard room in the Anton Hotel.
(Photo courtesy of Mr. John Pappas, Chicago).

Inside the Hawthorne Smoke shop August 1923.
(Photo courtesy of Mr. John Pappas, Chicago).

Many claim the Northsiders took Anton away one night and killed him for revenge. Some also speculate that the Capone gang was fed up of Anton's complaining and not playing ball with his gangster associates. Just like Edward Tancl had been, Theodore was a former boxer and tough man who stood up to anyone, even to Capone hoods. His relatives alive today dispute that and claim that their relative was very good friends with Al, and that Al would never had done that to Anton. Lastly, there was also some speculation by authorities that Anton was killed in brawl at George Brown's pool room  situated at 4809 22nd street.

Inside the Anton hotel circa 1920's. Anton is at right.
(Photo courtesy of Mr. John Pappas, Chicago).

December 3,1926, Theodore Anton's blood soaked coat was found beneath the Seeger bridge on the drainage canal, a mile west of Des Plaines,Illinois.
A young man by the name of C. Seeger noticed blood a few days before and told his father who passed it off.The young man decided to investigate further. He found the coat that bore the name " T. ANTON"
Also nearby were a pair of boots sunk halfway into sand. The canal was dragged for any signs of the body, but none came up. Anton's fully loaded gun was found. A makeshift grave was seemingly made, but it wasn't deep enough because of the hard cold ground, leading investigators to believe that Anton's body was buried elsewhere. Many foot prints where found around these personal items.The killers had been working in their bare feet.

The Anton Hotel

Meantime, a few bodies killed in similar style turned up in the morgue. Anton's brothers gave them a negative nod.

January 5,1927, the body of Theodore Anton is finally found in a shallow grave in Burham. This was the first time gangsters took extreme steps to hide the remains of a hit. Anton's body was covered in lime. This way the killers hoped his body would disintergrate faster. A paper bag filled with quick lime covered his head.
The name of the Meyer Davis company 1336 Roosevelt road was printed on the bag.

Ted Anton (right), and unidentified friend, Chicago 1921.
(Photo courtesy of Mr. John Pappas, Chicago).

Anton at left with two unidentified gentlemen.
(Photo courtesy of Mr. John Pappas, Chicago).

Anton in the middle with two unidentified gentlemen.
(Photo courtesy of Mr. John Pappas, Chicago).

The body was identified by his brother Nick. This was easy by Anton's tell tale cauliflower ears and by the ring which had his wife's maiden name inscribed *(Irene Tourla). His third finger on the right hand had been cut off.This finger was where Anton always wore his flashy $1,500 ring.That ring and the $2,000 he had on him when last seen was also gone. The coroner's physician located a bullet in the head and that it had been fired into his left eye. Cause of death was listed as bullet wound in head-shock & hemorrhage. Death was listed as November 28,1926, which was the day of his disappearance. A rope fastened to his thigh suggests his body was dragged out of the creek, which proved too shallow and later buried in another location. There was talk that Al cried like a baby upon hearing of his good friend's demise.
Some wonder if Anton decided enough was enough and threw the gangsters out of his hotels creating some sort of riff between Al and his boys.
You be the judge.
 Theodore Anton is buried in Elmwood cemetary.
*(Info supplied by Ted Anton's great nephew Mr. John Pappas).

Hole where Anton's decomposing body was found in quick lime.

Anton's body is buried without fanfare.

Theodore Anton headstone in Elmwood cemetary.
(Photos courtesy of Joe Walters)

Close up.
Special thanks to Joe Walters who remained confident in finding Anton's elusive grave.
(Photos courtesy of Joe Walters)

1929 Cicero listing with Anton's brothers as owners of his hotels (Dan and Nick). His wife Irene is also listed.

Theodore Anton, successful businessman and ex- fighter who had kept his nose clean and paid with his life for refusing to associate himself with gangsters.
(Photo courtesy of Mr. John Pappas, Chicago).

Theodore'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. 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.  
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.


First Posted July 2007