History

Al Capone’s Former Headquarters

The Lexington Hotel: Capone's ground zero


The Lexington Hotel stood at the corner of Michigan and 22nd Street for more than a century, but it was during the gangster ’20s where it likely got its unwanted yet infamous reputation. The Lexington, which was built in 1892 to accommodate the crowds that would come for the 1893 World’s Fair (a year before the CAA opened about 20 blocks north of the Lexington), once played host to Al Capone. Yes, Scarface moved his headquarters to a suite of rooms on the hotel’s fifth floor in 1928, where he ran his illegal affairs until 1931 when he was arrested.

In the years that followed, the building became somewhat of a flophouse and fell into disrepair. It regained fame in 1986 when reporter Geraldo Rivera famously opened what he thought was Capone’s secret vault holding a possible fortune. Rivera blasted out a massive concrete wall live on television, only to reveal a few empty, dusty bottles and nothing more. The building was eventually demolished in 1995. The above photo, courtesy of Calumet412.com, shows the Lexington in all its glory in 1900.

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