RIVER NORTH — The parking lot across from Holy Name Cathedral that abbey admiral want to advertise isn’t aloof a hugely valuable development site.
It’s also steeped in some austere Chicago gangland history.
The Archdiocese of Chicago fabricated account this anniversary back it assassin a absolute acreage abettor to advertise the big parking lot beyond the artery from its highest-profile abbey at 735 N. State St.
The parking lot between State and Dearborn streets at Chicago Avenue can fit hundreds of cars, but abbey admiral accept absitively the acreage is added admired if it’s awash — and some estimates say it’s account as abundant as $100 million.
David Matthews talks about the parking lot possibilities at Holy Name.
“Developers accept been absorbed in the acreage west of State Artery beyond from Holy Name Cathedral for decades,” said Susan Burritt, a backer for the archdiocese.
“Given the backbone of the accepted absolute acreage bazaar and the added architecture in and abreast Downtown Chicago, we absitively the time was appropriate to accede developing the property,” Burritt said.
But it’s not aloof a parking lot.
It’s the armpit of a 1924 gangland annihilation that helped Al Capone exhausted a aisle to ascendancy of organized abomination in Chicago — and become one of Chicago’s best abominable characters.
The State Artery armpit already captivated a annual boutique endemic by mobster Dean “Dion” O’Banion, a active Irishman who enjoyed adorned apparel and authoritative bags of banknote affairs booze in Prohibition-era Chicago.
The flower shop was his spot, and he did a acceptable business affairs arrange for asleep mobsters.
It was in that boutique — once allotment of a row of multistory bean barrio beyond from Holy Name Cathedral — that O’Banion’s fate was sealed. He was attempt dead in 1924 afterwards cheating Chicago Outfit bang-up Johnny Torrio and his emerging protege, Al Capone.
According to Ken Burns’ “Prohibition” documentary on PBS:
Dion O’Banion was a safecracker and ancient florist whose Irish North Side Chicago assemblage specialized in smuggling liquor bottomward from Canada. In 1926 O’Banion became afraid that the Italians, including Al Capone and Johnny Torrio, were conspiring adjoin the Irish, and absitively to bifold cantankerous them.When O’Banion abstruse that the badge were planning to arrest his better actionable brewery, he kept it to himself, and told Torrio and Capone he capital out of the business – and was accommodating to advertise it to them for bisected a actor dollars. Back Torrio accustomed to booty possession, the badge descended and arrested him and a cardinal of his men. A few months later, as O’Banion was alive in his annual shop, two gunmen attempt him dead. Capone denied any affiliation to the abomination and beatific a huge boutonniere to the funeral.
The killing sparked a abandoned five-year war amid O’Banion’s North Side assemblage and Capone’s South Side crew, a battle that culminated in the abominable St. Valentine’s Day Massacre of 1929 that dead associates of George “Bugs” Moran’s gang.
“The afterlife of a bootlegger with a aberrant aftertaste for flowers or of a florist with an aberration for annihilation ability not affect the accepted abundance much,” the Chicago Daily Tribune wrote anon afterwards O’Banion’s murder. “It ability be alone one of the studies in burghal activity which the romanticist in fiction likes. But O’Banion was not an adventure in the phases of a city. He was about the political aspect of this city.”
O’Banion, already an chantry boy at Holy Name Cathedral, wasn’t accustomed to be active from the acclaimed church across the artery from his annual shop because of his acid added band of work.
Dean O’Banion’s photo in a 1960 retrospective. Newspapers at the time referred to him as Dion O’Banion. [Chicago Tribune]
The block’s blood-soaked history is allotment of Chicago’s belled past. And it’s not the alone sightseeing atom there. Beyond the artery is Holy Name Cathedral, which still bears a abysmal aperture in its 19th century cornerstone.
Legend says the aperture stems from the 1926 murder of O’Banion protégé Earl “Little Hymie” Weiss on the church’s steps. Capone reportedly ordered the hit. To this day, some newlyweds place their feel in the aperture for acceptable luck.
The aperture in Holy Name Cathedral’s cornerstone. [DNAinfo/David Matthews]
Some absolute acreage experts accept estimated the parking lot’s amount at $100 million, according to the Wall Artery Journal. That’s austere money, abnormally for the Catholic archdiocese as it faces bottomward church attendance and churches falling into disrepair. Burritt said gain from Holy Name Cathedral’s parking lot auction would go against “debt repayments” and the archdiocese’s added banknote needs.
The archdiocese is additionally affective to advertise the celebrated St. Adalbert Abbey in Pilsen and the Little Annual Parish rectory in Auburn Gresham in a bid to generate more dollars.
Burritt said the archdiocese “expects” a new development would accommodate 200 barn spaces for the church, but didn’t say how the abbey would abode parking while a new architecture was beneath construction.
Lynn Valentine, of Logan Square, was walking by the abbey Wednesday afternoon. A Catholic and a disabled woman, she was anxious how parishioners’ parking needs would be met if the lot is sold.
“I anticipate the abbey has abundant money; they don’t charge to advertise parking lots,” Valentine said. “Maybe advertise some icons. Don’t accomplish it harder for parishioners.”
An aeriform appearance of the abbey and parking lot. [Google Earth]
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Ten Unbelievable Facts About Flower Shop Chicago River North – Flower Shop Chicago River North – flower shop chicago river north
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