Monday, August 12, 2002

Reports from the Road II
In early July, I spent some time in Wisconsin for my father's birthday and the July 4 festivities. While in the northwoods, my family and I explored two gangster-related historical sites. The first was the Hideout, Al Capone's retreat near Couderay, Wisconsin. Capone began vacationing here in the early '20s to escape the heat in Chicago -- the high temperatures as well as the heavy pressure exerted on his criminal activities by the police and federal government.

Al Capone slept here.

There's not much else of note in the area, but the Hideout is well worth the trek. Instead of going into detail about Capone's time near Couderay, I'll let the pictures I took speak for themselves.

While the inside of the lodge is rustic, Capone's hired guns weren't allowed on the main floor. They had to use this servants' entrance.

Aquatic airplanes from Canada would smuggle in alcohol for distribution, landing on Cranberry Lake.

Trespassers and prisoners would be locked up in this small cell.

Inside the holding cell.

Believe it or not, this is an "exercise yard" for prisoners.

The watchtower at the end of the long drive to the Hideout.

While sitting on this deck in front of the house, Capone's cronies would fire their guns at wild game.

We also spent some time walking around Little Bohemia, a supper club and former resort lodge near Manitowish Waters. Federal agents shot several unwary locals here, mistaking them for John Dillinger and Baby Face Nelson as they left following a dinner. During the shootout, lodge staff holed up in the basement while Dillinger and Baby Face escaped through a second-story window on the lake side of the building.

Loose lead flew at Little Bohemia.

Today, little remains of the Little Bohemia of yore. It's no longer used as a lodge, and the out buildings, which had once been used as guest cabins (Baby Face and his wife were staying in one at the time of the shootout), are no longer rented. It's a restaurant. And it's one I haven't eaten at, so I can't comment on whether the food lives up to Little Bohemia's storied past.

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