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The St. Valentine's Day Massacre Wall bricks
The George Patey massacre wall section shown in pink highlight.
Authentic bricks from gangland's most famous hit.
This particular brick from my collection was on display at the Gerald R. Ford Museum.
Gerald R. Ford museum massacre brick display.
Close up of display
These bricks were once part of the wall where the Moran gangsters were shot against by Capone hired killers.
Model of Massacre scene
Holding my Tommy and my massacre wall brick from 2122 N.Clark ,Chicago.
Mr. George Patey had acquired the massacre wall back in 1967. He originally heard the auctioning of the famous wall in the summer of 1967, while listening to his car radio. He decided on a whim to purchase it. He was the lucky high bidder for this auction, outbidding two others. Many other interested radio listeners also showed up to scavenge whatever bricks that were left over the surrounding actual massacre wall section, and the other remaining walls.
Chicago Daily News February 14,1929.
He had the 6' high by 10 ' wide massacre section ( that was in the line of fire) painstakingly taken apart and numbered. He had them shipped like fine china into Canada.They were declared as construction material at several pennies a piece for duty. He then pondered the possiblities for his new acquistion. He had them placed in a crime show at a shopping mall, then museums and galleries. In 1968, the timing was a bit off as Robert Kennedy time was assassinated and the public was in no mood to view history of wholesale murder. Mr. Patey decided to stop the exhibition and placed his bricks in retirement. In 1971, he opened a roaring twenties bar called the Banjo Palace and installed the bricks inside the men's washroom of his nightclub. Women would go in and peek at this famous wall. Plexiglass was placed in front of it, so that patrons could urinate and try to hit the targets painted on the plexiglass. The bar closed in 1976.The bricks were placed in storage till 1997 when he tried to auction it off on a website called Jet Set on the Net. The deal fell through after a hard time with the auction company and later Mr. Patey decided to sell them brick by brick on his own personal site. He has kept the bullet holed one for his own personal keepsake and has last appeared on History's Lost and Found with his wall.
Each brick was numbered when removed from 2122 North Clark street on November 9, 1967.This was done as to facilitate the reconstruction for the exhibit.This brick is K7
This brick is numbered T1. It was located next to Peter Gusenberg who was slumped on a chair.
Descriptive plaque on brick explaining it's provenance.The brick came with an audio cassette with the reconstruction of the crime played out.
Side view.This brick was estimated to be mid - level between Adam Heyer and John May.
On my way to re-constructing massacre wall.Only 412 bricks to go. (Yeah right)!
Back view of brick. It is made from clay that was near the Chicago river. It contains
remains of the great Chicago fire as most of the burned out buildings were dumped in the Chicago river.
Brick from Mr. Patey's wall. A fake blood stain was placed on reconstructed wall to show where the blood once was. The original white wash (yellowish) can still be seen under layers of powdery coated plaster.The plaster was applied all over the wall to try and conceal it's original state by the Werners.They wanted to disuade visitors from coming in to see it.
Two massacre wall bricks along with brick from opposite wall of 2122 North Clark street.
Beware as many dubious sellers try to pass off the surrounding bricks and rear entry cobblestones as coming from the massacre wall.
Mr. George Patey of Vancouver, Canada displaying brick with bullet hole. He has his foot on top of the other massacre bricks. Mr. Patey has done hundreds of T.V. radio and newspaper interviews.
(Photo courtesy of Mr. Patey)
Pointing to a supposed bullet hole, John Yascot examines the bricks before they were shipped off to George Patey in 1968.
(Photo courtesy of Mr. Patey)
Car used as a backdrop for Mr. Patey's massacre exhibition.
(Courtesy of Mr. Patey)
Patey's wall lettering system. Left lettered column is accurate, but numbering may be slightly off due to the wall's zig zagging effect.
The wall numbering system went as follows in this above diagram as told to me by George Patey.
The 6 foot high by 10 foot wide wall was irregular and many bricks broke apart leaving
empty gaps on the sides ( zig-zag effect). The common wall shared by the Schneider dry cleaners next door and had rows that started straight and veered off course as they progressed. The total of the removed wall consisted of 414 bricks. Bottom floor row was broken in demolition. Rows of full sized bricks consisted of approx. 14 bricks while 4 half brick rows consisted of 28 bricks.These half bricks are located at rows D,J ,P and V. There were a total of 7 bricks hit by schrapnel out of an approximate 72 fired shots. One was in Mr. Patey's posession (numbered M12 now with his niece) and the remaining others were removed by souvenir hunters. In a Chicago Tribune story by Ronald Koziol, dated February 13,1987, it was rumoured that George Segal, the actor who played Peter Gusenberg in the St.Valentine's day massacre movie, removed one of the bricks as a keepsake while they were filming inside the 2122 N.Clark location. This was probably fabrication as his agent denied these rumors. I don't even believe any actor stepped in the building as all the movie was shot in Hollywood. There was also talk of the missing bricks being taken by the Demolition workers themselves. So as of right now, I know were two bullet holed bricks are located, but the remaining 5 are missing in action. I was also told, but yet unconfirmed that Ralph Capone had a brick over his mantle piece in his home in Mercer, Wisconsin. Bullet hole or not, these bricks are a significant piece of Chicago Gangland history, and any ownership of one of the bricks from the massacre wall should be considered as a very important museum piece and a one of a kind artifact from a documented gangland event that was heard around the world back in 1929.
Patey's section shown in inverted shot of actual massacre wall with superimposed lettering locations.
Close up of massacre wall at 2122 Clark. This shot clearly shows the full bricks and half bricks.
Half bricks appear every sixth row.
The fascination with this event is not the slaughter itself as it was very horrible and totally unwarranted. The mystique lies in the missing facts to know who exactly the slayers were and trying to comprehend what type of cold brazen killer could do this to seven other unsuspecting human beings.
The other fascination is that these bricks saw who the killers were and and what exactly transpired in that garage at 2122 North Clark street on February 14,1929 at 10:30 am.Now, if only someone could get these bricks to talk!
The garage was used as a furniture warehouse by the owner after the massacre. Later the building was owned by the Werner family as a storage facility. Many tourists would come and pester Mrs. Werner for a peek at the wall where those men were killed..People from all over the globe Germany, Holland, Japan etc.....
Mrs. Werner stated if she knew what this building stood for she never would have aqcuired it.
It was slated for destruction in 1967.
In early 1967, Mr. George Patey from Vancouver , B.C. , Canada hears the radio announce "They are tearing down the garage that onced housed this old gang of mine" The rest is history!
A bit about Mr. Patey, he's today 75 and has been in the entertainment business all his life and has rubbed shoulders next to people like Marilyn Monroe, Milton Berle, and a month with the Royal Family. He has been successful in all his endeavors and is in my opinion a great human being. I have had the chance to conversate with him on several occaisions and it had always been a pleasure!
George Patey's reconstructed wall with added lettering. Note the half bricks appearing every sixth row.
Many years has passed since the building was torn down and stories began to surface of the massacre wall bricks containing evil mystical powers. Some say the spirits of the dead men went through the wall to get away from the killers.Others stories added on went on to say that these bricks brought extreme bad luck and anyone who bought one was faced with financial ruin and even death.
Well as of right now I will clarify any misconceptions anyone has toward these bricks.
1) They DO NOT brick bad luck!!!They just sit there. I have two massacre wall bricks in my Capone room and sometimes sleep in this room peacefully with no gangster ghosts or massacre victim's spirits tugging at my feet and as for financial ruin, well, I didn't need the bricks for that one as this hobby of mine has done that for me already thank-you very much!
2) Mr. Patey has owned this wall since 1967 and has been a successful businessman all his life.
3) The stories of anyone buying one and having bad luck and returning them are total and purely fabricated bull. The real fact is that Mr. Patey has never ever sold any bricks to anyone in the past!!! (1967-1999). He was going to in 1997, but the deal fell through). He had just recently been selling them on his own since 1999.
The reassembled wall with mannequins and Tommyguns circa 1968. (Courtesy of Mr. George Patey)
Descriptive letter from City of Chicago Notary public and demolition company as to removal of massacre wall.
(Courtesy of Mr. George Patey)
Holding my Valentine's day massacre brick for a newspaper photo.
Two bricks from 2122North Clark street building (not the massacre wall). Brick on the bottom was part of the front of the building that was later remodeled. For more info about the buildings changes please see Valentine's Massacre pt.2
These bricks were purchased from Mr. George Patey of Vancouver B.C.
The Banjo Palace in Vancouver B.C.
(Courtesy of Mr. George Patey)
Banjo Palace Patron taking a whizz.
(Courtesy of Mr. George Patey)
On a sad note
Mr. George Patey the one and only St. Valentine's day massacre wall owner passed away at the Hawaiiana Hotel ( In Honolulu) on December 26, 2004, at 5:09 A.M. The official cause of death was cardiac failure. Mr. George Patey the Canadian businessman who purchased the massacre wall back in 1967 and recently sold them brick by brick.
I had the brief opportunity to befriend him and was amazed by how happy and jovial he was despite the various illnesses that plagued him. (Cancer, degenerative eyesight,weak heart ). He amused himself in his later years entertaining seniors at retirement homes with his stand up comedy and jokes.
He was in the entertainment industry and met many a legend. He told me about working with Marilyn Monroe and Milton Berle etc...He even played a bit part in one of her movies. Uncle Milty was a %$# to work with!
George just loved to talk about the massacre. It obsessed him, as does a few here, including myself. He told me that in spring of 1967, he was driving around in his cadillac in Vancouver when a news report came through the radio that they were tearing the garage that housed that old gang of mine. 2122 North Clark was slated for destruction that fall and Mr. Patey thought it a great idea to buy it to promote his boss' restaurant, but the boss' wife objected. George not to be dissuaded decided to buy the wall for himself. Out of 3 to 4 bidders Mr. Patey won the high bid for the wall and had it all shipped to Canada declaring them as construction material and only taxed several cents a brick. He then pondered the possiblities for his new acquistion.He had them placed in a crime show at a shopping mall, then museums and galleries.In 1968 the timing was a bit off as Robert Kennedy at that time was murdered and the public was in no mood to view history of wholesale murder. Mr. Patey decided to stop the exhibition and placed his bricks in retirement. In 1971, he opened a roaring twenties bar called the Banjo Palace and installed the bricks inside the men's washroom of his nightclub. Women would go in and peek at this famous wall much to the surpise and annoyance of male patrons relieving themselves. Plexiglass was placed in front of it, so that patrons could urinate and try to hit the targets painted on the plexiglass.The bar closed in 1976.
Where are all the real massacre wall bricks now????
How do I know? Man, I have really kept track of these bricks for about 22 years. You can say I was kind of obsessed about them. So here is the skinny on the bricks today. Once the original owner of the wall George Patey passed on, the remaining unsold bricks from the 6 foot by 10 foot section in which Moran's men were lined up and shot against went to his niece as an inheritance. She lives in Vegas and after a few attempts at selling them individually on Ebay, she ended up selling them to a future Las Vegas mob museum.
To be precise, the remaining 340 bricks of the wall that is at the mob museum in Vegas, is not the whole wall originally bought by Patey. While not the whole wall, they are indeed the only authentic ones that came from the actual massacre sectioned wall. This wall section is where Moran's henchman, his mechanic, and a gangster groupie optometrist were actually lined up and shot against.
The Patey massacre wall rebuilt at The Las Vegas Mob Museum. Notice the dark bricks. These are replacements bricks to fill the void of the 74 missing authentic bricks that were sold previously by George Patey to lucky collectors. Around seven bullet hit bricks were removed from the massacre wall by souvenir hunters. This even before Patey ever received his section.
(Photo courtesy of L.A.)
Patey had sold about 74 individual bricks out of 414 from his 6' by 10' massacre wall to individual collectors out there. He had told me this himself via telephone. Between 1999-2003 (before his passing), he had been selling them at www.caponewall.com. Patey himself had owned one perfectly bullet stricken brick.
Several of the bullet hit bricks were removed by souvenir hunters even before George Patey had acquired the wall. One bullet holed brick from the wall was snatched up a few years back on ebay of all places, for a cool $3000. This brick was originally removed by a crazed fan who visited the Werner storage company that was in operation at 2122 North Clark Street. The guy pleaded with Mrs. Werner and paid to remove one. He even photographed the removal. This was way before Patey had won the bid on the wall, thus before it was dismantled and shipped to him in 1967. I had informed Patey about this brick via photos and documents.
Ex Chicago reporter looking at the Valentine's day massacre wall at 2122 North Clark street before it's demolition in 1967. Note the missing bricks.
(Photo Chicago Tribune)
While the North wall was larger than Patey's 6 foot high and 10 foot wide massacre section, only his was the actual section that was in the direct line of rival gangster guns.
So read carefully and buyer beware!
For information on what happened to the building at 2122 North Clark street, please visit below link and direct yourself near bottom of page.
SEE MASSACRE PART 2
First Posted February 2000