Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Chicago's Mob Legends Missed in the Mob Museum

The Mob Museam although located Las Vegas has much to with Chicago. Not only was the museum open on the anniversary of the St. Valentines day massacre, but also many of the “greatest” mobsters resided and worked in Chicago. Although this museum opened up with great anticipation and generally good reviews, not all Chicagoans are pleased. Not with overwhelming Chicago influence found in the museum, but with the lack of it. John Kass, author of the editorial about the museum in The Chicago Tribute notices the missing parts almost immediately when the senator speaking at the opening ceremony  “There were only a few brief mentions of Chicago Outfit boss Paul "The Waiter" Ricca — and no mention at all of a famous U.S. senator from Nevada known to the mob as "Mr. Clean Face."”

This article reminded me of how the Haymarket Riot has been received in the latter years. In the article Martyrs and Monuments, Dabakis writes “The events surrounding the Haymarket bombing and trial functioned as a cause célèbre in the course of labor history. For Liberals and Radicals it provided labor with its first revolutionary martyrs: and for civil authorities, the trial outcome had effectively destroyed the anarchist movement.” It was listed as a sight to see in guidebooks and all sides see it as a significant local historical event.

This event reverberates a similar feeling. I’m sure at the time the city wasn’t necessarily prideful of its complex and deadly organized crime ring. But now, the author is indignant at the missed mention of these Chicago “celebrities” (even though some weren’t actually convicted as mobsters). Again, this like the Haymarket Affair in that it finds much of its power in the memory and presentation of it according to the present time.   

Finally, this concept of history working and being romanticized by the current time is shown in the mix up of “facts” and also in the building itself. As he says “And there couldn't very well be a Mob Museum without the actual bricks from the wall of the Chicago garage where the infamous St. Valentine's Day Massacre took place in 1929. The museum exhibit says the killers were dressed as cops. I've always thought they were cops.” This roots the memories in monuments and how they affect what history is told.

Here is the link of the article.,0,1924595.column


  1. What an interesting blog, introduced by a thought-provoking photo. The unusual wall painting of the dwellings is also a strangely modern interpretation. Something like this hieroglyphic view of a park by Swiss painter Paul Klee,
    The image can be seen at who can supply you with a canvas print of it.

  2. of the museum opening. It was very interesting, I'm glad we took the extra day to see it. canvas printing cheap