Lexington Hotel Reveals Al Capone Secrets

The Lexington Hotel, located on the corner of 22nd St. and Michigan Avenue on the south side of Chicago, was the headquarters and nerve center of Al Capone’s smuggling and extortion empire.
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Behind the innocent-looking closets of hotel sheets and uniforms were secret stairway doors that led to dozens of rooms, like the shooting gallery where Capone and his gangster companions were aiming.
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Other secret passages led to Capone’s own medicine cabinet and to taverns and brothels connected by hidden tunnels. Other tunnels led to hatches on the Dyke, which provided escape routes for mobsters fleeing police attacks and rival gangs.
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The Lexington Hotel was originally built in 1892, designed by architect Clinton Warren, who had also designed the Congress Hotel. The Lexington was hastily built of brick and terracotta to accommodate the masses expected to visit Chicago for the 1893 World’s Fair.
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President Benjamin Harrison once gave a balcony address to a huge audience down the street. Al Capone moved to Lexington in July 1928 and, officially registered as “George Phillips”, occupied the luxurious fifth-floor suite of rooms. Capone’s office overlooked Michigan Avenue.
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In the lobby, armed men in hotel uniforms watched the front doors closely, and other guards armed with machine guns patrolled the floors above. From here he directed his illicit and highly profitable operations until October 1931, when he was escorted from the hotel to prison.
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The pinnacle of Al Capone’s success – and also heralding his downfall, was the 1929 St. Valentine’s Day massacre that effectively annihilated Capone’s last gangster rivals but also provoked the wrath of the public and federal government (which sent Eliot Ness to the rescue) upside down.
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Al Capone allegedly had some safes in the lower levels of the Lexington Hotel, where he had hidden his money. These safes were so well hidden that even Capone’s closest associates didn’t know where they were.
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In the 1980s, after the glory days of Lexington had passed, the one-woman construction company considered restoring the Lexington Hotel. Researchers exploring the hotel’s ruined ruins locate sealed rooms where Capone’s hidden fortune rests.
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In 1986 Geraldo Rivera, the well-known talk show host of TV, brought a live national TV audience to the venue in his immaculate shirt uniform for a modern day treasure hunt.
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IRS agents were also present, anticipating their part in the withdrawal. Rivera’s crew crossed the 7,000-pound concrete wall, thought to be the secret hideout of Capone’s fortune … but when the smoke cleared, only an old sign and a few empty bottles were found. If there was once a fortune there, it had already been withdrawn long ago.

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