The Mystery of Al Capone’s Vaults–The Burial Kind

Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Chicago, Illinois

Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Chicago, Illinois

ALPHONSE CAPONE

1899- – 1947

MY JESUS MERCY

MAE CAPONE

1897 – 1986

Gonzo reporter, Geraldo Rivera, had a two-hour television special which aired on April 21, 1986, titled, The Mystery of Al Capone’s Vaults. For a time, Capone had housed his operations in the Lexington Hotel in Chicago. A construction found a series of secret rooms and tunnels under the hotel, which presumably had been used to hide Capone’s prostitution, gambling, and alcohol operations. Rivera, responding to rumors of their discovery developed the idea to open the lost and secret vaults on live television. The much-hyped end of the show, the moment 30 million viewers had waited for, revealed a near empty vault—dust and a few empty gin bottles—leaving Geraldo looking somewhat flummoxed and empty handed.

The vaults that Rivera did not highlight on his special were the vaults of a different kind—Capone’s burial vaults. Al Capone died in Florida from the devastating effects of syphilis left untreated. After a large and elaborate funeral at the Philbrick Funeral Home and Chapel and St. Patrick’s Church in Miami Beach, Florida, Capone’s body was transported to Chicago. To avoid the press a decoy casket was transported by hearse to a train station and shipped to Chicago while the real casket containing Capone was loaded into the back of a station wagon and driven to Illinois. Al Capone’s body was laid to rest at the Mt. Olivet Catholic Cemetery, next to his father, Gabriele, and his brother, Salvatore. A large black polished granite stele was erected. Two oval porcelain photographs of his father and his brother adorned the stone.

QUI RIPOSA

GABRIELE CAPONE

NATO DEC. 29, 1865

MORTO NOV. 14, 1920

QUI RIPOSA

SALVATORE CAPONE

NATO LUGLIO 16, 1895

MORTO APRILE 1, 1924

AL CAPONE

1899 – 1947

There was a steady stream of gawkers to the gravesite and souvenir hunters pried off the photos of Gabreile and Salvatore. Vandals pushed the large stone over several times. After the death of Mae, the Capone family decided to move Grabeile, Salvatore, and Alphonse to the Mt. Carmel Cemetery in Hillside, Illinois. To throw off the sightseers, the large black gravestone was left in place, hoping the ruse would keep people away. This post is evidence the plan didn’t work.

Mt. Carmel Cemetery, Hillsdale, Ilinois

Mt. Carmel Cemetery, Hillside, Illinois

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2 Responses to The Mystery of Al Capone’s Vaults–The Burial Kind

  1. Marianne Matthews says:

    I love your post. Excellent photos. The Lexington was in Chicago not NYC. The town is Hillside not Hillsdale. Marianne

    Sent from my iPad

    >

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