Despite rap sheets an arm’s length and reputations for cruelty, there’s something almost romantic about the gangsters of the 1920s. With a flair for the dramatic and personalities that dominated both the news and gossip columns, these men firmly put a mark on Prohibition history.
Many mobsters, however, chose to live their daily lives rather anonymously in homes more fit for the family man than the big “boss.”
We’re touring the homes of some of the biggest names to grace the FBI Most Wanted list. Grab your fur coat and felt hat, but keep it down; we don’t want any stool pigeon ratting to the coppers about where we’re going.
Al Capone’s first home in Chicago was relatively modest for someone dealing in some pretty lucrative (but illegal) business. The mobster lived in the home when he first moved from New York to the Windy City. Capone lived in the Park Manor home until threats to run him out of town sent him to Florida.
The 4-bed, 2-bath home, pictured below, was last listed for sale for $450,000 in 2009.
93 Palm Ave, Miami Beach FL
For sale: $9.95 million
The notorious mob boss moved south in 1928, buying an enormous beach-side estate that would serve as his final home.When he arrived in Miami Beach, historians say, Capone wasn’t looking to expand his empire but was searching for a place to retreat from the stress of running the mob. His beachfront home was his escape as well as the place he died in 1947. See a video tour of Capone’s home here.
Benjamin ‘Bugsy’ Siegel
250 Delfern Dr, Los Angeles CA
For sale: $22.9 million
While Capone ruled Chicago, Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel ruled New York, and then later moved on to L.A. and Las Vegas. Siegel created an empire of bootlegging and gambling, and began one of the first organized hit companies “Murder, Inc.” before he settled in Los Angeles. In L.A., Siegel rubbed shoulders with the celebrity elite, even dating a few starlets, as he also planned to expand a gambling empire in Las Vegas.
Although his business was in Vegas, Siegel preferred estates in Hollywood, where he threw lavish parties.
Siegel had one of his homes, pictured above, built for his wife and children in 1938. Siegel never moved in, preferring his other home, Castillo del Lago on Mulholland Drive.
And of course, Siegel was infamously murdered in the rental home, above, of his girlfriend Virginia Hill at 810 Linden Dr, Beverly Hills in 1947.
Ma Barker was fresh off a string of high-profile robberies throughout the Midwest when she and her son Fred headed down to Ocklawaha to hide out. The two posed as a couple needing a vacation rental, but the FBI caught wind of the Most Wanted woman’s plans and surprised the Barkers with a 7:15 a.m. shootout. The five-hour melee killed both Ma and her son, and the volley of bulletholes left behind are still visible in the 4-bed, 2-bath home today.
Much of the home, actually, is frozen in time from the 1935 shooting. Still owned by the family who once rented the place to the Barkers, the property recently hit the market as an non-MLS listing, with a suggested starting price of $1 million.
George ‘Bugs’ Moran
Capone’s biggest rival and the other man responsible for much of the heyday of Prohibition crime, George “Bugs” Moran preferred to live in a hotel suite. The leader of the North Side gang — Capone led the South Side — Moran had a reputation for his violent temper, earning him the nickname “Bugs,” slang for crazy. A bit of gangster lore: Moran was the actual target of the Valentine’s Day Massacre, but he was at a coffee shop next door when the shooting happened.
Moran lived at the Parkway Hotel. Today the hotel has been converted to the Pierre Condominiums.
Before there was Capone, there was Johnny Torrio, an Italian-American mobster who is credited with beginning the Chicago gangster scene in the early 1920s. Torrio hired Capone back in New York, and when Torrio moved to Chicago, he took Capone along and eventually handed the entire business over to Capone after surviving a drive-by shooting in front of his home on South Clyde Avenue.
Torrio moved out of his home and left for Europe, only returning to New York to testify for Capone during his tax evasion trial.
Like Torrio, Frank Rio was a gangster closely tied to Capone, and he’s believed to be the person who carried out the Valentine’s Day Massacre. He was described as one of Capone’s most loyal and trusted hitmen and was once considered to be the successor to Capone, but he rather slowly stepped back from his involvement in the mob and died of a heart attack in 1935.
Profile photos source: Wikipedia