The History of Al Capone and the Chicago Outfit

The History of Al Capone and the Chicago Outfit

Chicago is known for its splendid history and gorgeous buildings that you’ll see during a Shoreline Chicago architectural cruise, but that’s not the only side of Chicago that’s captured the interest of the public. Al Capone, the famous “Scarface” of American lore, built his empire right in the streets of beautiful Chicago.

Before Capone

Historic Prison Cell of Al Capone in Philadelpha's Eastern State Prison

Organized crime flourished in Chicago during the late 19th and early 20th century. By the 1910s, the famous gangster “Diamond Jim” had managed to take control of the street thugs and Black Hand extortionists who kept the people of Chicago in fear, and was on his way to controlling all of Chicago’s organized crime. When Diamond Jim hired his nephew Johnny “the Fox” Torrio to find him more enforcers, Johnny looked for gangsters who needed help–and found Al Capone, who was trying to find a way to hide his famous scarred face from police who were looking for him in New York. Capone arrived in Chicago, and organized crime was never the same.

The Capone Empire

After the assassination of Diamond Jim and an attempt on Torrio’s life, Torrio handed control to Capone and retired. Capone turned his attention to bootlegging, making more money from the illegal sale of alcohol during Prohibition than the Chicago Outfit had ever made from mere extortion. The cash flow allowed the Outfit to gain control over nearly all of Chicago by bribing police and city officials alike. This led to power struggles between the Italian-run Chicago Outfit and the Irish-run North Side Gang, culminating in Capone’s ordering of the famous St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.

End of an Era

The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre was heavily covered by the press, making Capone a household name–and making it impossible for law enforcement to turn a blind eye. Capone’s crimes and reputation were well known, but without any witnesses willing to testify against the Chicago Outfit, it was nearly impossible to convict anyone. Finally, the IRS was able to arrest him for tax evasion.

Visit Al Capone’s Chicago With Shoreline Sightseeing

Only the Shoreline Sightseeing tour can give you the Chicago experience from the water! If you want to see Al Capone’s Chicago from the best vantage point in the city, check out our schedule and see what Shoreline tour is perfect for you. Call us today at 312.222.9328 for an information or reservation.