Albion, Another One Of Al Capone’s Michigan Hideouts
As we have come to find out, Al Capone was very fond of the state of Michigan and spent quite some time here. Whether he was here for business, needed to quickly get away from the Chicago because of unforeseen events, or simply just wanted to come up to Michigan to have some fun and party with less concern, Michigan was one of his favorite states to set up in.
We have become familiar with hearing the stories of the mobsters that once ran the streets of America while traumatizing communities and police alike. Everyone loves to hear about all the action they created all over the country from drug dealings and busts, to shootouts with rival gangs and police, even stories about things they did for "fun" and of course the parties they would throw.
The mobster stories I enjoy hearing the most are first, the ones where law enforcement infiltrates their mob and takes them down from the inside out, going on to live their lives looking over their backs expecting some kind of retaliation. Secondly, I've become very intrigued by finding information about meet-ups between mobsters. Obviously, the street business involves multiple figures meaning meetings will occur, and most of the time in-person meetings to minimize any outside interference.
We know Al Capone to have many different properties in Michigan, from hideouts in the Southwest Michigan area to a party boat in Charlevoix, Capone spent tons of time in the mitten state. Sometimes Al would come to the Great Lakes State for a mini-vacation to enjoy himself and get out of the hectic city of Chicago, other times he was running across state lines from danger or the authorities, or even for business meetings.
Albion, Michigan, a small town about 45 minutes from Kalamazoo, is the newest Michigan city to be added to the long list of hideout spots for the infamous Capone. It's been said that Capone would come to Albion because it was low on the radar, offered privacy, and he was able to handle business with other mobsters here. Obviously, many figured they would meet in the city that's the halfway point of Detroit and Chicago, Kalamazoo, but they couldn't be more wrong.
One of the most notorious mobster groups in Detroit in the Early 20th century was the Purple Gang. They moved to Albion in the 1930s and opened up a Junkyard, Riverside Iron and Metal company, as a front for their criminal enterprise. At the time I-94 didn't exist and you had to go through Albion and many would stop there instead. Mobsters made intentional stops here to conduct business.
Many of these meetings would be in the most discreet public places I've ever seen. For example, if you didn't know the purple gang or Al Capone was they could be sitting on the balcony of the Bohm Theatre having a meeting while you're watching a play, in the apartment house attached to the Streetcar Tavern where you like to get a drink, or even in the next room at the Parker inn, which you stopped at for the night. Albion was flooded with mobster activity right under everyone's nose.