We visit historic Mafia towns …

If you’ve wondered why the blog’s been kinda silent for a while, Jaz and I have both been doing a good bit of traveling. To places connected to the mafia, no less. Destinations: Chicago and Hot Springs, Arkansas.

We’ve all heard of the mafia in Chicago and New York, but Hot Springs? That little tourist town? Yep.

When the mob bosses, like Al Capone, needed to get away from the cops, they’d skip on down to the secluded, picturesque, but far from Hallmark-movie-little-town of Hot Springs, Arkansas. Full of illegal gambling, prostitution, and corrupt government, Hot Springs was just like a home away from home for them. It even had its own local competing gaming bosses, the Flynns and the Dorans (they had a famous shootout in 1899, so I’m not sure if they were still around during the peak of the big city mafia visits in the 30s). Al Capone, Frank Costello, Bugs Moran, and Lucky Luciana were among its notorious guests. (http://www.hotsprings.org/pages/history/)

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Don’t be deceived by its adorable cutesy-ness. 

Hot Springs is now known for its natural hot springs and old bath houses, but it still has a relics of its past, including The Gangster Museum of America (Jaz: sadly, we didn’t visit). http://www.hotsprings.org/pages/history/

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Unexciting photo of a historic Hot Springs bathhouse.

Chicago. The Windy City was amazing. (The Calamity Jane song reference doesn’t really go with our theme, but I couldn’t help it.) The food, the architecture, the tour of Al Capone’s house and all the mafia-related spots (just kidding) (Jaz: You should have!). I did go to Union Station, however, location of the mafia shootout on which the Kevin Costner movie The Untouchables was based.

I may have even seen one of the bullet holes . . .

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Bullet hole at Union Station! How cool is that?

Since this is a classic book and movie blog, not a vacation blog, our next post will be on a mafia-related movie. Care to guess which one? And no, it’s not The Godfather.