LEOPOLD & LOEB IN THE CRIME OF THE CENTURY – On Wednesday, May 21, 1924, fourteen-year-old Bobby Franks left the Harvard School for Boys at 4731 Ellis Ave. in the exclusive Kenwood section, and began walking to his home two blocks away. A school mate of Bobby who was walking nearby, looked away for a second, and when he looked up, Bobby Franks had disappeared. He saw a car speeding away south on Ellis, but he had not seen Bobby get in, nor had he seen anyone get out. One minute Bobby Franks was there - the next he was gone. Four hours later, at 9 p.m. a man called the Franks home and told Mrs. Franks that Bobby had been kidnapped. The next morning, Thursday, the 22nd, a man walking through the prairie and marsh near Wolf Lake near the Illinois/Indiana border, noticed something down in a culvert while crossing the railroad tracks. Looking closer, he saw two bare feet sticking out from the culvert pipe. Standing in knee-deep water, he pulled on the legs and pulled the limp body from the pipe. He saw that it was a young boy and that he was dead. He had no clothes on. Back at the Franks house at that time, a special delivery letter arrived demanding $10,000 for the safe return of Bobby, and it was signed "George Johnson."
– On Thursday afternoon, the 29th, police finally got the first major break in the case. They traced a pair o eyeglasses that had been found at the site where the body had been found and learned that only three pairs of the horn-rimmed glasses had been sold in Chicago. One pair had been sold to Nathan Leopold Jr. in 1923. When Leopold was questioned about the glasses on Saturday, he confessed to the murder. When Loeb heard that Leopold had confessed, he also confessed. The trial opened on Monday, July 21, 1924 with the famed Clarence Darrow as their attorney. The pair pled guilty and threw themselves at the mercy of the court. On September 10, 1924 they were both sentenced to the penitentiary at Joliet for the term of their natural lives for murder. For kidnapping, they were sentenced to ninety-nine years.
UPDATE – On January 28,1936, Loeb, a homosexual, was stabbed to death in a Joliet prison shower by another homosexual inmate. Loeb was 30 years old. On March 13, 1960, Leopold was released from prison and moved to Puerto Rico where he got married in 1962. He died in Puerto Rico at age 66 on August 30, 1971. He willed his body to the University of Puerto Rico for research.
HOME OF NATHAN LEOPOLD – Nathan Leopold Jr. lived here with his parents when he and Richard Loeb killed Bobby Franks. Leopold's father was a millionaire box manufacturer. 4754 Greenwood.
UPDATE – The Leopold family moved from Kenwood shortly after the trial. Several years later, Nathan Leopold Sr. married Mrs. Daisy Kahn of Los Angeles. He died in 1929 of a heart attack. Leopold's two brothers, Mike and Sam, changed their last name and moved out of Chicago. The sprawling Leopold house was torn down in the 1960s and the property was cut up to build several new homes. The garage where Leopold kept his Willys-Knight car, was converted into a carriage house during WWII and was still there in 1975.
HOME OF RICHARD LOEB – Richard Loeb was living here at 5017 Ellis when he and Nathan Leopold killed Bobby Franks. His father Albert Loeb, was a multimillionaire, a vice president and chief officer of Sears Roebuck company. Their house was across the street from the Franks house. It was here in the Loeb home that Leopold and Loeb burned Bobby's clothes in the basement. They hid the robe that they had wrapped Bobby in, near the Loeb greenhouse, then they washed the blood from the murder car while at sat in the Loeb driveway. 5017 Ellis.
HOME OF BOBBY FRANKS – Bobby Franks lived here at 5052 Ellis with his parents Jacob and Flora Franks. Jacob, a part owner of the Elgin Watch Company, was worth $4 million. Bobby's prize possession, a baseball with Babe Ruth's autograph was still on the shelf in a closet when Bobby was buried on Sunday, May 25, 1924. The services were held here in the Franks house. Richard Loeb stood on the sidewalk in front and watched as Bobby's casket was carried from the house to the hearse. 5052 Ellis.
UPDATE – A few weeks after the trial, the Franks family sold their home here and moved into the Drake Hotel. In 1928, Jacob Franks died of a heart attack at age 67, he was worth $2 million at the time of his death. Flora Franks later remarried. The Franks home was still here in 1975, ad was being used as a nursery school.
SCHOOL OF BOBBY FRANKS – Bobby Franks attended the Harvard School for Boys here on the day he was killed. When 12-year-old Nathan Leopold Jr. attended Harvard, classmates teased him about his size, his interest in bugs and his intelligence. They called him "Flea" and "Crazy Nathan," and "the crazed genius." 4731 Ellis.
UPDATE – Harvard School was still there in 1975 and was called the Harvard-St. George School.
BOBBY FRANKS KIDNAPPED – On Wednesday, May 24, 1924, Leopold and Loeb were driving north on Ellis when they spotted fourteen-year-old Bobby Franks walking south on Ellis. Leopold was in the back seat and Loeb was driving. Loeb later described what happened. "About five o'clock we saw Bobby Franks coming south on the west side of Ellis. As we passed him he was just coming across us past 48th. We turned down 48th and turned the car around. About the time we turned around, he was almost at 49th. It was here that we picked him up. I drove south on Ellis parallel to where Bobby was, stopped the car, and while remaining in my seat, opened the front door and asked him if I could give him a ride home. He said no, he would just as soon walk, but I told him that I would like to talk to him about a tennis racket, so he got in the car."
BOBBY FRANKS KILLED – It was here on 50th Street that Bobby Franks was killed. Loeb described what happened. "After Bobby got in the car, I stepped on the gas and drove south on Ellis to 50th. As soon as I turned the corner, Nathan placed one hand over Bobby's mouth and with his right hand beat him on the head several times with a chisel. Bobby began to bleed and was not entirely conscious. He was moaning. Nathan grabbed Bobby and pulled him over the back of the front seat and threw him on a rug on the floor. He then took a gag and stuffed it down his throat. Then we drove east on 50th, passed through the viaduct under the Illinois Central tracks and entered Jackson Park. Then we drove south toward Indiana on Highway 12."
LEOPOLD & LOEB THROW AWAY MURDER WEAPON – Just after midnight the day after Leopold and Loeb murdered Bobby Franks, they drove south on Greenwood past 49th Street and threw the murder weapon out. A night watchman in the area later told police that he saw a man in the back seat of a car throw out an object. He walked over to the spot and found a chisel in the gutter with tape wrapped around the blade. It had blood on the handle.
LEOPOLD & LOEB THROW MORE EVIDENCE IN LAGOON – On Saturday the 24th Leopold and Loeb drove into Jackson Park at 2:30 a.m. and stopped at the bridge near a golden statue of Columbia which was erected at the time of the 1893 World's Fair. Leopold got out of the car and threw the keys of the typewriter on which he had typed the ransom note, into the water. He had removed them earlier with pliers. They then drove further south until they reached the outer drive bridge that crossed the channel connecting the inner lagoon with Jackson Park Harbor. It was here that Loeb threw the typewriter into the water. They then drove south along South Shore Drive to near 73rd. Here they threw the bloody bathrobe on a pile of debris under a pier.
ASHES OF CLARENCE DARROW THROWN IN LAGOON – When famed defense attorney Clarence Darrow died in 1948, his ashes were scattered here in the water from the bridge over the lagoon that went to the Wooded Island. East of 60th street.
UPDATE – A disbeliever of religion and the hereafter, Darrow once said that if there was anything to the spiritual world, he would come back to Chicago at 10 in the morning on each anniversary of his death. Every March 13, people gather on the Darrow Bridge and wait. Darrow has yet to make contact with them.
LAST HOME OF CLARENCE DARROW – In the early morning of Sunday, June 2, 1924,Jacob Loeb, Richard Loeb's uncle, rang the doorbell of attorney Clarence Darrow's apartment here in the Midway Apartments at 1537 E. 60th. Ruby Darrow came to the door. Loeb insisted on seeing Darrow, even though she told him that Clarence was sick in bed. Undeterred, Loeb barged into the bedroom and pleaded with Darrow to defend Leopold and Loeb. Loeb fell to his knees beside he bed and begged Darrow "We'll pay anything, only for God's sake, don't let them hang." Darrow, who had known the Loeb's for years, reluctantly took the case. The Darrow's lived in a 9-room flat on the top floor of a 6-story building called the Hunter. 1537E. 60th.
UPDATE – Darrow died here in his apartment on March 13, 1948. He was cremated and his ashes were scattered in the Jackson Park lagoon not far from he lived.
RICHEST MAN IN CHICAGO – Julius Rosenwald bought a half-interest in Sears Roebuck in 1893 and by 1910, he was president. In the 1920s, he was the richest man in Chicago and lived here in his 22-room mansion at 4901 Ellis. A generous man, he donated $4 million to build 5,000 schools for blacks in the south, donated $30 million to create the Rosenwald Foundation. He gave away $63 million because he believed in "giving while I am alive. – 4901 Ellis.
UPDATE – The Rosenwald mansion still stands today. A close friend of the Franks family, Rosenwald is buried in Rosehill Cemetery on the North side. Little Bobby Franks is buried nearby.
SON OF PRESIDENT GRANT GETS MARRIED – Ida Honore, sister of Mrs. Bertha (Potter) Palmer, was married here in the Honore home at the corner of Vincennes and 45th in 1872 to Lieutenant Frederick Dent Grant, the son of President Ulysses S. Grant. President Grant and the first lady were in attendance. The wedding gifts included $10,000 worth of diamonds given by Potter Palmer.
HOME OF THE MARX BROTHERS – The Marx Brothers grew up here at 4512 S. King Drive. The home is still there.
LOUIS ARMSTRONG AT THE SAVOY – Louis Armstrong appeared here at the Savoy Ballroom in 1928. He was paid $200 a week. Nat King Cole and his band played here in the early 1930s. 4733 Martin Luther King Boulevard.
LOUIS ARMSTRONG HONEYMOON HOME – After Louis Armstrong and jazz pianist Lil Hardin got married on February 5, 1924 in her mother's home at 3320 Giles Ave. the happy couple bought a 11-room house here at 421 E. 44th. Louis moved out after several years and they were divorced in 1938. Lil was still living here when she died of a heart attack on August 28, 1971. 421 E. 44th.
QUEEN OF THE CHICAGO MADAMES – In 1950, Dorothy Reisner was Chicago's "Queen of the Madames." She operated her brothel out of her home here where she had 2,500 prostitutes on her lists. 4417 Ellis.
FAMOUS ARCHITECT – Louis Sullivan lived here at 4575 Lake Park from 1892 to 1897. He designed many of Chicago's famous buildings along with the Getty and Ryerson mausoleums in Graceland Cemetery. 4575 Lake Park.
UPDATE – The home was still here in the 1950s.
MILLIONAIRE PRINTER – Thomas Donnelley, president of R R. Donnelley & Sons Printers was living here in 1931. 4609 Woodlawn.
ROXIE HART CHICAGO'S PRETTIEST MURDERESS – On April 2, 1924, Mrs. Buelah Annan shot and killed her lover here in her flat at 817 E. 46th St. After she was acquitted in 1926, Chicago Tribune reporter Maurine Watkins wrote a play on the story of Beulah in which she named Buelah "Roxie Hart." It was called Chicago. In 2002 the play was made into an Academy Award winning movie.
CHICAGO'S MOST STYLISH MURDERESS – On March 12, 1924, Mrs. Belva Gaertner shot and killed her lover in her apartment here at 4809 Forrestville. Acquitted in 1926, Belva was also part of the play Chicago in which her character was called “Velma Kelly”.
FORMER HOME OF MUHAMMAD ALI – Ali lived here in the 1970s. 4948 Woodlawn.
LOUIS FARRAKHAN HOME – Elijah Mohammed and Louis Farrakhan lived here in 1990. 4955 Woodlawn.
MILLIONAIRE PRINTER – Arthur Goes, vice president of Goes Lithographers was living here in the early 1930s. Most award certificates are printed by the Goes Co. 4940 Kimbark.
MILLIONAIRE MEAT PACKER – Gustavus Swift, founder of the Swift Meat Packing Company, built his home here in 1898. Harold Swift, vice president of Swift's was living here in 1931. 4848 Ellis.
FORMER CHICAGO MAYOR – Edward Kelly, former mayor of Chicago was living here in 1931. 4821 Ellis.
SEARS VICE PRESIDENT – Max Adler, vice president of Sears Roebuck was living here in 1930. He was the brother-in-law of Julius Rosenwald. In 1930, he donated $500,000 to build he Adler Planetarium. 4939 Greenwood.
HOME OF MRS. ABRAHAM LINCOLN – Mary Lincoln and her sons Robert and Tad lived here in the Hyde Park Hotel in 1865. A recluse, she rarely left her three-room apartment. This was right after Abe was killed and she had moved to Chicago. At Hyde Park Blvd. and the Lake.
UPDATE – The hotel was destroyed in the Great Chicago fire of 1873.
INVENTOR OF THE ADDRESSOGRAPH – Joseph Duncan, inventor of the addressograph was living here in the 1930s. 5555 Everett.
INVENTOR OF THE CRACKER JACK BOX – In 1899, Henry Eckstein while part owner of the Cracker Jack Company, invented the "Triple Proof Package," a dust, germ, and moisture-proof paper package that Cracker Jack came in. Eckstein was living here in the early 1930s. 5528 Everett.
1893 WORLD'S FAIR – The World's Columbia Exposition opened here in Jackson Park on May 1, 1893. The great white buildings were erected on what was once a wasteland and deserted beach. The Palace of Fine Arts cost $600,000 to build.
UPDATE – In 1895, most of the buildings burned down but the Palace of Fine Arts was saved. Marshall Field donated $1 million to restore it. The building was renamed the Fields Museum. In 1920, the building was abandoned when the new Field Museum was built in Grant Park. In 1925, Julius Rosenwald, president of Sears Roebuck, donated $7.5 million to restore it. Today it is known as the Museum of Science and Industry.
WHITE CITY AMUSEMENT PARK – Opened in 1905, the White City Amusement Park (formerly "The Chutes") was one of Chicago's biggest entertainment spots. Its enormous main gate was at the southwest corner of Martin Luther King Blvd. and 63rd.
UPDATE – The park closed in 1934, but parts of it including the roller rink stayed open into the 1950s. The park stretched from 63rd to 66th. Any remaining parts of White City were destroyed in 1958 for a housing project.
HUGH HEFNER STARTS PLAYBOY MAGAZINE – Hugh Hefner and his first wife and daughter lived here in a 5-room first-floor flat at 6052 Harper in 1950. It was here on the kitchen table that he designed and laid out the first issue of Playboy Magazine. They moved on Memorial Day in 1952. 6052 Harper.
CREATOR OF DICK TRACY – Chester Nathan Gould, a professor at Chicago University was living here in 1931. Gould is best known for creating the famous Dick Tracy comic strip. 6007 Woodlawn.
WORLD'S FIRST FERRIS WHEEL – The Midway Plaisance was built between 59th and 60th streets as the formal entrance to the 1893 Colombian Exposition in Jackson Park. The sunken parts of the Midway were filled with water to create impressive lagoons. It was here on the Midway that a young lady from Syria called "Little Egypt" did her famous veil dance. The world's first Ferris Wheel, invented by George Ferris, was located at the corner of Woodlawn. It was 264 feet high and carried 1,440 people at one time in each of its 36 cars.
UPDATE – After the fair was over, the Ferris Wheel was moved to North Clark Street, then in 1904, it was taken to St. Louis for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition.
HOME OF THE MURDER MAN – William (Murder Man) Heirens, killer of little Suzanne Degnan, lived here in room #51 of the Snell (Gates) Hall in 1945. He was a student a Chicago University. At the corner of 57th and Ellis.
BIRTHPLACE OF THE ATOMIC BOMB – The Chicago U. football teams of Amos Alonzo Stagg played their games here at Stagg Field. On December 2, 1942, the atom was split in labs underneath the west stands of the stadium by Enrico Fermi and four other scientists.
UPDATE – Now gone, the stadium site is next to the library near the bronze statue called "Nuclear Energy." Between 56th and 57th on University.
MIDWAY GARDENS DANCE HALL – Built in 1914 by Edward Waller and Oscar Friedman, the Gardens were designed by Frank Lloyd Wright on the site of the old Sans Souci Gardenson the southwest corner of 60th and Cottage Grove. Wright designed it to resemble a German concert garden. Benny Goodman and Ben Pollack played in the Art Kassel Orchestra here in 1923-1924.
UPDATE – The name was changed to the Edelweiss a few years before it was torn down in 1929 to make room for a garage, service station and car wash.
TRIANON BALLROOM – Rudolph Valentino danced the Tango here at the Trianon on February 18, 1923 while 6,000 of his fans watched. 6201 Cottage Grove. The ballroom was torn down in 1967.
NAT KING COLE WINS TURKEY – Ten-year-old Nat King Cole won the first prize here at the Regal Theater in 1929 for his piano playing – a turkey. 4719 Martin Luther King Blvd.
UPDATE – The Regal was the last movie house in the city with stage shows, big bands etc. It was torn down in 1973.
THE "WIZARD OF OZ" – L. Frank Baum, author of the Wizard of Oz was living here in a second floor apartment in 1906. 5243 S. Michigan.
1910 NEGRO BASEBALL PARK – In 1910, seven Negro baseball teams formed the National League of Colored Baseball Clubs. The local team played their home games here at 5324 S. State.
STREET CAR CRASH KILLS 34 – At 6:34 p.m. on May 25, 1950, a Green Hornet Chicago Street car collided with a gasoline tanker here at the intersection of State and 62nd Place. When the street car exploded in flames, 34 passengers were burned to death.
OAK WOODS CEMETERY – Buried here in the Oakwoods Cemetery at 1035 E. 67th are:
– Adrian "Cap" Anson, former Chicago White Sox baseball player and a Hall of Famer.
– "Big Jim" Colosimo, gangster. Colosimo was shot and killed on May 11, 1920 in his cafe on the south side by orders of his long time friend, gangster Johnny Torrio. Colosimo's services were held in his home on 23rd Street. A thousand first ward democrats preceded the cortege as it left the house and wound through the Levee (Chicago's notorious vice area) on its way here to Oak Wood. As the cortege passed the Colosimo Cafe, where he was killed, two brass bands played out front. 5,000 mourners followed the casket, including 53 honorary pallbearers, criminals of all kinds, 9 aldermen, 3 judges, 2 congressmen, a state senator, an assistant state's attorney, and the state republican leader.
– Richard Donnelly, founder of the R. R. Donnelly Publishing Co.
– Walter Eckersall, football player. He is in the Ravinia Section B-1, Lot 53.
– Henry Eckstein, inventor of the Cracker Jack waxed candy carton and its liner. He is in the Magnolia Section K-1, Lot 12.
– Enrico Fermi, Nobel Prize winning physicist who helped split the atom.
– Jake "Greasy Thumb" Guzik, former Al Capone gang member.
– Monroe Heath, former Chicago mayor.
– Kennesaw Mountain Landis, baseball's first commissioner. He is in the Linden Hill Section J-1, Lot 123 just off the paved road.
– A.A. and C.P. Libby, founders of the Libby Packing Co. They are in the Symphony Shores Section, 12, 43.
– A.A. Libby, founder of the Libby Packing Co. He is in the Symphony Shores Section, 12,43.
– Jesse Owens, Olympic track star. He is in the Calm Vista Section, C©32, just off of the paved road.
– Richard Loeb, killer of Bobby Franks. He was stabbed to death while in prison in 1936 and was cremated here.
– Frederick and Louis Rueckheim, inventors of Cracker Jack candy. They are in the Magnolia Terrace Section, K-1, Lot 57.
– William "Big Bill" Thompson, former Chicago mayor. He is in the Symphony Shores Section I-2, 57.
– Bill Veeck, former owner of the Chicago White Sox. He was cremated here.
– Harold Washington, Chicago's first black mayor. He is in the Symphony Shores Section, I-2, 20, just off of the paved road.
– Ida Wells, journalist. She is in the Symphony Shores Section, I-1, 212.
– Confederate Soldiers. Many of the 6,000 Confederate Rebels who died in Camp Douglas Prison during the civil War are buried here.