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THE MASSACRE PART 2
A crime that was never solved. As far as Al not having anything to do with it? Look at it this way, a person couldn't pass gas in mid 1920's Chicago without Al having knowledge of it. Al had paid eyes and ears all over the city by paying lookouts in shop keepers, shoeshine boys and newspaper stand owners. Also, you would need to explain Al's wise move of being interrogated by Florida officials at the exact time the massacre was going down. Records show that Guzik was calling Al in Florida from The Congress hotel shortly before, and after the massacre went down.
Capone had most certainly condoned it. I'm sure he had no hand in the planning because this was a botched up hit and Capone was well known for his efficient meticulous hits, such as the one perpetrated on Hymie Weiss. After the massacre Al must have thought to himself "If you want something done right, then just do it yourself."
The massacre planning was probably handled by McGurn and the Circus gang. The hitmen were most probably renegade gunsels for hire from St.Louis. (Fred "Killer"Burke, Gus Winkeler, Bob Carey etc....). The Massacre did not only signal the end for Moran as force in Chicago, but it also ironically brought the wheels of justice rolling on Capone. After mountains of information, some evidence, several death threats and hundreds of leads and crackpot letters, the massacre was never solved. Coroner Herman Bundesen finally ended his inquest into the seven murders on November 16,1931. On this date, the Coroner's jury returns a verdict stating that the two Gusenberg's and five others found at the North Clark street garage came to their deaths "At the hands of a person or persons, unknown." To this day, it still intrigues detectives and amateur history buffs. Then why with the all proven evidence, was no one ever brought to justice for this crime? Several points.
Death threats and also the fact that Fred "Killer" had conveniently killed a policeman in St. Joseph, thus avoiding his extradition to Chicago for charge of killing the seven Moran boys at 2122 North Clark street. By this time, most did not care if the crime was ever solved, because after all, even some of the police were happy to see some of those gangsters drop dead.
October 15,1931, Tribune story of Capone bodyguard Philip D'Andrea visiting Fred "Killer" Burke in Marquette prison.
Why would a known Capone gangster visit killer Burke in prison if he had nothing to do with the massacre or the Capone gang?
Some of the following photos and words were scanned from True Detective Magazine (March-April,1931).
Re-enactment by Coroner's Jury
Coroner Herman Bundesen interviewing some of the massacre victim's relatives.
Top; Lucy Powell (John May's sister) next to her is James May (John's brother).
Bottom; Howard Heyer son of slain Moran gangster Adam Heyer,Next and last with glasses is Maurice Weinshank, uncle of Albert Weinshank, slain Moran Gangster. (Chicago Daily News Feb.16,1929).
(Mario Gomes collection)
Actual photo of Maurice Weinshank being questioned by Harry Dicthburne and Herman Bundesen.
Maurice said he knew nothing of Albert Weinshank being associated with gangsters.
Mrs. Jeanette Landesman who heard shots next door.
Jack McGurn suspected.
McGurn's Blonde beautiful alibi.
First photo (A) massacre garage (B) lookout building
Second photo shows lookout building today
North Clark on the 15 of February
Highball the Alsatian that survived the massacre.
(Photo Courtesy of Mr. Bill Helmer)
Read photographer Russell V. Hamm's typed account of the massacre photographing session here by clicking on the word "Letter" below.
Hamm was working for the Tribune and he, along with his buddies Anthony Berardi (Chicago American), John"Hack" Miller, Jun Fujita (Chicago Daily News) who were from other newspapers, took the same photos of the building and massacre scene. Most were taken by Hamm who jumped on the truck and was handed the others cameras. He also tells of what happened to the dog.
The garage where one of the hitmen's cadillac was found. It was situated next to the Circus cafe. The Cadillac caught fire while one of Capone's henchmen was torch cutting it. Second photo shows what North Wood street garage looks like today.
Clothes left behind with burnt out Cadillac used in transporting hitmen.
Two views of hit cars found later, one burnt and one bombed.
The Cadillac was found near the massacre scene in a Northwood street garage and the other Peerless was found in Maywood, Illinois.
Peerless was found in Maywood, Illinois.
Bullets and buckshot removed from victims' bodies. Top photo is a death threat sent to Coroner Herman Bundesen telling him to stop the investigation or else!
Close up of death threat sent to the Coroner investigating the massacre.
Taken from Peter Von Frantzius' catalog. Any person could obtain police looking equipment to fool anyone.
(Mario Gomes Collection)
Bullets found with Fred Burke and bullets removed from massacre victim's bodies matched ballistics tests when fired through the Thompsons that were also found in BuRke's posession.The bullets had special "S" stamps ( limited run by the U.S. Cartridge company).
(Photo Courtesy of Mr. Bill Helmer)
Newpaper account of threats to coroner Bundesen.
Mrs. Josephine Schwimmer after identifying her massacred optometrist son who was at the wrong place at the wrong time.
A couple of months after the massacre, Capone is called to an organized meeting in Atlantic City.
Adam(John Snyder) Heyer
Frank "Hock" Gusenberg
John May (Mechanic, ex-safecracker )
Peter "Goosey" Gusenberg
Dr. Reinhart Harry Schwimmer at Dean O'Banion's funeral.
The 2122 North Clark Building
In this 1930 photo at right, 53 rows of new bricks along with two windows was added atop 2122 North Clark by the new owner of the building. This allowed for more storage on the second floor. The aproximate estimation of the total of new bricks added to the building was over 7500.
Right after the massacre, the 2122 North Clark building was temporarily boarded up. It was then owned in 1930 by Frank C. Brusky, who owned a trucking firm bearing his name and was now using 2122 North Clark as his location (Brusky Overland Movers). He had come across a secret trap door in the corrugated ceiling of the first floor that was exactly over the spot were the Moran gangsters were slain. It lead to a concrete chamber that was 35 ft long by 4 ft wide and 13 ft high. This secret passage way stood along the second floor wall and was undetected from the first floor below with it's flush trap door in the celing. Funnels, a stool and an alcohol hydrometer were found in this secret location. Also found were an attached block and tackle system tied to the chamber ceiling with a crate. The crate could perfectly hold a 5 gallon container of alcohol .The owner had called police who investigated the premises again. They had first thought that this secret chamber may have been a torture chamber for rival gangsters, but Police Captain Thomas Condon concluded that it was merely an alcohol cache.
By 1935, the building at 2122 North Clark was now occupied by Red Ball Movers inc. They were a moving company who also did telephone directory pick up and exchange when the year was up. Red Ball Movers embraced the wall and even had a sign outside welcoming the public to come in and take a look at the famous wall where the Moran gang was massacred.
In 1936, the building became the place of business for the Anaconda Van Lines, owned by Samuel J. McArthur.
Over the years and through the hands of many owners the building itself (inside and out) will be reconfigured. Wall / partitions added and removed.
In 1949, Charles and Alma Werner took over the building as a removing, packing, shipping and storage facility. By this time the massacre wall is plastered over and a partition is added to hide it.
They will stay there a total of 18 years before they will vacate. During this time, Mrs. Alma Werner will become annoyed at how many times people, especially foreign visitors, will come in and ask to see the infamous wall. Depending on her mood, Mrs. Werner will either turn them away or comply to their wishes. Some visitors are aggressive and some are polite. She reminds them that the brick wall was covered over with plaster to hide it's infamous past. She once stated how she wished she and her husband had never bought the building. The Chicago Urban Renewal will purchase the property from the Werners and they will move out during the last week of October 1967. The city will sell the massacre wall section to the highest bidder and demolish the remains of the building. The property will be turned into a home for the elderly which can be found there today.
The infamous 2122 North Clark massacre wall circa 1939.
This part was where the Moran boys were lined up against. In later years and different owners, a walled partition was put up in front of the massacre wall to hide it.
SEE MASSACRE BRICKS
Close up of the Werner Storage store front at 2122 North Clark Street
(Photo taken in 1955).
Ex Massacre Coroner Herman Bundesen walking by building mid to late 1950's.
2122 North Clark Street. The Werner Storage garage.
Alma and Charles Werner. They were Americans born in Illinois of German/ Swedish descent. They had one daughter.
They were the owners at 2122 North Clark Street from from 1949 to 1967.
(The Ottawa Journal)
Inside 2122 North Clark Street, 1967, before demolition. This photo is taken from back garage doors, meaning photographer is facing east. Massacre wall is to left covered by partition. Some think this photo is inversed, but as a blow up of the photo shows below that boxes at the back of above photo are reading correctly. Radiators are also on the other side, but not showing due to partitions.
Blow up of top photo shows boxes with writing (Quick and Oyster).
Steel curtain partition hid the massacre wall from public viewing.
(Excerpt from The Ottawa Journal September 15, 1956).
Steel sliding doors or folding type curtains that leads to hidden massacre wall.
Behind the partition. Massacre bricks missing before demolition. 1967
Back of 2122 North Clark Street, 1967.
2122 North Clark in 1973.
(Photo Courtesy of Mark Kennedy)
Grass area near old folks home is 2122 North Clark Street Today.
(Courtesy of Bill Helmer)
First Posted February 2001