THE TRIAL OF THE CENTURY – When Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb were arrested for the thrill killing of 9-year-old Bobby Franks in 1923, they were held in the jail that was located behind the County Courthouse on the northwest corner of Dearborn and Hubbard. The famous trial was held in the fifth floor courtroom of the courthouse.
UPDATE – In 1990, the building was renovated and is now occupied by lawyers.
CHICAGO SETTLER HAUNTS NIGHT CLUB – The Exalibur Club's Dome Room located in the old Chicago Historical Building at 632 N. Dearborn, has been called "The most haunted spot in Chicago" by The Sci-Fi Channel. It is reportedly haunted by Jean LeLime, one of the first settlers of Chicago. About 1810, when Le Lime and John Kinzie (known as the father of Chicago) got into a dispute over who owned a house in the vicinity of what is now Wabash and Illinois, Kinzie killed him and buried him near the home. In 1891, construction unearthed bones that were believed to be those of LeLime. The bones were given to the Chicago Historical Society. When the Society built the building here in 1892, LeLime's bones were stored inside. Lelime's ghost has been reported seen in the bar of the Excalibur's Dome Room. The building is also supposedly haunted by the ghost of a lawyer who committed suicide here. In 1915, the building was used as a morgue to store dead bodies from the tragic Eastland ship sinking a few blocks away. 632 N. Dearborn on the NW corner of Ontario.
THE "SCHEMER" KILLED BY POLICE – Gangster Vincent "The Schemer" Drucci, was killed on April 4, 1927, by Detective Daniel Healy at the corner of Clark and Wacker Drive. In 1926, Drucci became a celebrity among his gangster friends, when he was being chased by police while driving north on Michigan Avenue. Just as he reached the Michigan Ave. bridge, the gates came down and the bridge started to part at the center. Stepping hard on the gas, he broke through the gates, sped up the rising south half of the bridge and vaulted smoothly onto the north half and escaped.
BABE RUTH'S FAVORITE HANGOUT – The Palace Gardens Night Club at 623 N. Clark, was Babe Ruth's favorite Chicago hangout in the 1930s.
JOHN DILLINGER LOVED FROG LEGS – For six weeks in 1934, John Dillinger came here often to dine on frogs legs in Ireland's Oyster House Restaurant at 634 No. Clark. Famed attorney Clarence Darrow ate his victory dinner here the night that Leopold and Loeb were found guilty in 1924.
CHICAGO'S LARGEST STRIP CLUB – Before Dion O'Bannion became a gangster, he was a singing waiter here in McGovern's Saloon at 661 No. Clark. It was here that he became friends with Bugs Moran, Hymie Weiss, and "The Schemer" Drucci. In the 1950s, McGovern's Liberty Inn was the largest strip club in town. It had 25 strippers.
MORTUARY OF THE GANGSTERS – Sbabardo's Funeral Parlor at 738 N. Wells, embalmed and held services here for many gangsters, including Dion O'Bannion, Hymie Weiss, and Vincent "The Schemer" Drucci in the 1920s. O'Bannion's services were the grandest Chicago had ever seen. 40,000 people filed by his casket here.
DION O'BANNION KILLED IN FLOWER SHOP – Gangster Dion O'Bannion was killed here in the Schofield flower shop at 738 No. State Street, on November 10, 1924 by Capone mob members, John Scalisi, Albert Anselmi, and Frankie Yale.
UPDATE – Schofield's is now a parking lot.
HYMIE WEISS SHOT AND KILLED – On October 11, 1926, gangster Hymie Weiss drove up and parked his car on Superior around the corner from Schofield's flower shop where Dion O'Bannion was killed in 1924. He was headed for his office on the second floor of Schofield's at 738 N. State Street. As Weiss and four of his friends turned the corner in front of the Holy Name Cathedral, shotgun blasts exploded from a rooming house at 740 N. State, just north of Schofield's, spraying the street. Bullets splattered the Cathedral's cornerstone, chipping the inscription. Weiss was hit almost at the curb in front of the flower shop. He fell dead after ten slugs hit him.
UPDATE – The bullet holes on the church are hidden today behind a remodeled stairway that leads to the church's front door. The services for Chicago Cub announcer Harry Carey were held here in 1998.
SALLY RAND AND HER FANS – Fan dancer Sally Rand starred here at the Paramount Club at 16 E. Huron while creating a sensation at the Chicago World's Fair in 1933. A new building is now on the site.
TRAGEDY OF THE NEWBERRY FAMILY –- Julia Newberry, daughter of wealthy banker Walter Loomis Newberry, was born here in the Newberry mansion at the northwest corner of Rush and Ontario on December 28, 1853. She was 15, when her father died in 1868 while on a ship headed for Europe. A year later, on June 9, 1869, Julia wrote in her diary: "Here I am in the old house where I was born, and where I wish I could always live. It is the dearest place on earth to me and worth all of London, Paris and New York put together. It really breaks my heart to think of leaving it and going to Europe again. I like Chicago so much, so much better than any other place, and we have a beautiful home, and it is all associated with Papa, and now we have to leave it all!"
A few days after the Newberry mansion was destroyed in the Chicago fire in October of 1871, Julia wrote again in her diary: "Not a thing was saved from our house, not a thing. Who could have dreamt that when I drove away from the house on that beautiful June morning in 1870, that I saw it, and all my Chicago for the last time, but they are all gone. Papa bought the land. Papa built the house. Papa planted the trees. Papa lived here. He died far away from us in mid ocean, with no one to care for him, no one to learn his last wishes, no one to love him, and now all the few traces of him are swept away forever."
UPDATE - Julia Newberry never saw her beloved Chicago again. While vacationing in Rome, Italy, she caught the Roman fever and died there on April 4, 1876. She was 23 years old. Walter Newberry, his wife Julia, three infant children, and a 28-year-old daughter, Mary Louise, are all buried together in Graceland Cemetery on the North side. The burial site of young Julia is unknown. The Newberry Library at 60 W. Walton was built with the Newberry millions in 1887.
THE VILEST PLACE IN CHICAGO – Even the worst of Chicago dives was a Sunday school compared with those in the Sands, a stretch of Lake Shore north of the Chicago River, near Baptiste du Sable's first cornfield. In 1857, the Sands contained between 20 and 50 ramshackle buildings and a dozen shanties, each housing gambling dens, saloons, and bordellos. The Chicago Tribune reported that it was "Decidedly the vilest and most dangerous place in Chicago." Located between Erie and the river, and from Seneca to the lake, the most beastly sensuality and darkest crimes had their home in the Sands. Margaret McGuiness, a prostitute in Freddy Webster's place, was said to have been neither sober nor out of the place for five years, and did not have had her clothes on in three years. She regularly entertained from 10 to 40 men a night. She died on March 8, 1857, of excessive sex and alcohol.
UPDATE – On April 21, 1857, Mayor "Big John" Wentworth and 20 policemen burned down the Sands.