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Edward Tancl
Edward "Eddie" Tancl
 Born in Chicago, Illinois, July 6, 1886.
1906 shot of a young amateur boxer by the name of Eddie Tancl

Boxing, in it's infancy, was a very violent sport. So much so, that in the year 1906, not less than ten boxers died in the canvassed ring. One of the men who packed a walloping punch was named Edward Tancl.

On July 7,1906, Charles "Young" Greenberg of 1607 Wabash avenue died from the effects of a fight with a new young amateur named Tancl. The event took place in Lasalle. Tancl was arrested, but not prosecuted. There had been some speculation as to Tancl receiving payment to fight whilst still being in the amateur category. Tancl was suspended from amateur boxing by the Atheletic association on February 13, 1906. To return in the ring, Tancl turned professional around 1907, and his last bouts are held around 1916.Tancl had later supposedly admitted taking funds, which may have been one of the reasons he had later left the boxing world.
Ed Tancl began his life in the Canal port district near 19th and Fiske streets. He was a broad shouldered powerful youth who got in to scrapes and won most of them even before thinking of becoming a boxer.

With prohibition looming, Tancl went into business with a man named Bookie Jones. He opened "Tancl's" at 1657 Blue Island Avenue. In December 1920, trouble brewed in that particular saloon when shots were fired as a result of an argument over gambling. Dr. Joseph W. Beaudette was shot while acting as a peacemaker between to arguing gamblers.  

Eddie Tancl the Bohemian, was noted as a well respected member of the community by his neighbours. He always helped out his own. On May 2,1922, Eddie Tancl risked his life saving two boys in a fire that raged through six framed tenement houses on Fiske street. The fire had been started by some boys playing with matches in a basement. 100 people were without a home

Ex Boxer Edward Tancl
Mario Gomes Collection

Tancl purchased another saloon called The Hawthorne Park Inn situated at 48th and Ogden avenues from Robert Parchman, who was the former president of the village of Lyons. This establishment is not to be confused with Al Capone's latter stronghold named Hawthorne Hotel Inn, which was also in Cicero.

Tancl had become boss of his domain even as far as to be called the "Czar of vice". It soon wouldn't be long before rivals tried to knock Tancl down for reigns of this properous working and gambling beer town.  His dive had become very popular with the Hawthorne race track crowd.

Eddie Tancl's Hawthorne Park Inn

Klondike O'Donnell tried to establish himself in Tancl's domain by headquartering himself at McElliot's saloon located at 14th street and Blue Island.
Tancl and his pursuaders ran him out of town.

Tancl had been warned at many reprises to "get out of town or else!" Tancl snubbed that he was scared of no one. Come they did. Many new rivals appeared moving into Tancl's territory. Torrio, Capone, O"Donnell's, OBanion  slowly began to errode the powerful grip Tancl had in this part of town. Soon after attempts were made to put Tancl out of business.

First big attempt was on August 22,1924, a bartender named Roman Hampel who was out back putting away garbage saw a fuse sputtering under the Inn. He smothered the burning fuse with his bare hands and went inside the cafe to get help in catching two suspicious looking men running from the yard.
The two suspects were chased down and held till police arrived. They were two labourers named Charles McGill, alias Philip "Humdinger" Corrigan 25 years old, sheet metal worker and 23 year old electrical worker named Joseph Brooks. The pair were affiliated with the Klondike O'Donnell gang and both had criminal records.The records showed that Corrigan was charged with murder at 17 years old when he killed Edward Weidmers, whom he worked with at the Stockyards.

Philip Corrigan and Joseph Brooks

Tancl didn't press charges, but wanted to know who exactly sent them. Tancl had told police he had recently switched beer supplier, because the O'Donnell's had begun needling their beer instead of supplying him with the regular real brew. On October 6,1924 Philip Corrigan's dying body was found on 54th street between Aberdeen and Carpenter. Police rushed his body to Deaconess Hospital, but he died on the way. A bullet hole was found in the back of his head. It is theorized that Corrigan was shot in Nugent's southside Saloon and his body thrown from an automobile.
Corrigan was identified by his sister, a woman named Mrs. A.W. Blessing, living at 1906 West 61st street.

Joseph Brooks went into hiding.

November 22, 1924, Myles O'Donnell and James Doherty enter the Hawthorne Inn Park aiming to brew nothing, but trouble. They spend most of that Saturday night drinking in the cabaret waiting for their attack on Tancl.  An ex policeman at the cabaret got into an argument with Doherty that didn't amount to much. O'Donnell and Doherty left the bar at around 1 am with their ladies. They returned the following Sunday morning, at around 6 am they found their opportunity to pounce.

Interior of Tancl's Hawthorne Park Inn

Eddie Tancl, his wife, Leo Klimas and Mayme McClain were seated together at a table. Doherty and O'Donnell joined them at the table. They consumed several drinks consisting of beers and highballs. A waiter by the name of Martin Simet gave a bill to O'Donnel for the rounds of drinks totalling $5.
O'Donnell and Doherty refused to pay and tossed the bill back to the waiter.

Tancl whispered to his waiter who left without payment. O'Donnell and Doherty nonetheless went after the waiter and struck him several times with a revolver.
Tancl approached them men stating his waiter did nothing to deserve this. At that moment, Doherty and O'Donnell turned their guns on Tancl. Tancl tried to pull out his.25 caliber gold plated and pearl handled german automatic, but the O'Donnell men fired into Tancl first. Tancl fired back, but his gun jammed. Roman Hampe,l the bartender, threw a .38 in Tancl's direction. At this time O'Donnell and Doherty were running out of the club.Tancl followed running north after O'Donnell both firing at each other. Tancl caught up with O'Donnell under a railroad subway about 200 feet away. The both men had emptied their guns and fell. Tancl hit O'Donnell with the butt of the revolver before handing it over to his arriving waiter Martin Simet. Tancl's last words to Simet were "kill him, he got me." Simet jumped on the prostrate body of O'Donnell till the police arrived.  

Eddie Tancl lying in the morgue.
Mario Gomes Collection

Tancl's waiter friend, Leo Klimas, was found lying under the bar wounded with a bullet through his lung. He had not participated in the battle.

Doherty ran south until he hailed down a Checker taxi cab. With his arm bleeding, he entered it and the taxi drove off.

The two gangsters had left behind their brand new Cadillac with no plates. The police nonetheless traced it to Doherty through the dealer and the police ended up at his mom's house.There the police found no Doherty, but twelve cases of beer.   

November 26,1924,  the well liked, kind hearted and powerful Bohmian Eddie Tancl is laid to rest. His coffin is brought out of his 193 Longcommon rd, Riverside home. His wife Jean is accompanied by Edward's brother Joseph. Only close friends and family stood near the grave at the Bohemian National Cemetary. Leo Klimas dies from his wounds on the same day. Tancl leaves behind his wife and two daughters, Helen, Mildred and his stepson Harry.
(Mildred and Helen came from Eddie's first wife Anna, who passed away on June 7, 1918).

Mrs. Jean Tancl

May 11,1925, Both Doherty and O'Donnell are free within 9 minutes after the closing arguments in their trial for the murder of Tancl. The trial is filled with contradicting testimony. One wonders if bribes are involved.  

The next day the same pair are on trial for the murder of Leo Klimas.They are acquitted of all charges and leave the jail in company of 5 women who waited for them.

February 22,1925, a fire breaks out at 4801 Ogden Avenue. $5,000 in damages to the late Eddie Tancl's Hawthorne Park Inn.

In 1937, Tancl's daughters Mildred and Helen, contest the estate and file court documents stating that Jean Tancl, their step mother, illegally siphoned most of the Tancl estate intended for them. Jean had passed away in 1930.

Edward Tancl
Bohemia cemetary (Photo courtesy of Mr. Josh Perry)

First Posted June 2008