Encyclopedia ofChicago
Entries : St. Valentine's Day Massacre
Entries
S
St. Valentine's Day Massacre

 

 

 

St. Valentine's Day Massacre

St. Valentine's Day Massacre, 1929
Posing as police officers conducting a routine raid on February 14, 1929, four men entered a warehouse at 2122 N. Clark Street, used by George “Bugs” Moran and his gang to store liquor. The impostors lined up six gang members and a hanger-on against a wall, produced machine guns from under their overcoats, and opened fire.

The prime suspect was Al Capone, head of Chicago's crime syndicate. Moran's North Side gang, the largest obstacle to the Capone organization's power in metropolitan Chicago, had hijacked Capone's liquor shipments, competed in protection rackets, and murdered Capone allies. Law enforcement officials could not prove any involvement by Capone, who was in Miami at the time. No one was ever tried for the killings.

The raid's cold-blooded efficiency left the public in shock, and the St. Valentine's Day Massacre came to symbolize gang violence. It confirmed popular images associating Chicago with mobsters, crime, and spectacular carnage. The site of the warehouse, razed in 1967, continues to draw tourists from around the world.

Bibliography
Ruth, David E. Inventing the Public Enemy: The Gangsters in American Culture, 1918–1934. 1996.
Schoenberg, Robert J. Mr. Capone. 1992.