The Chicago Outfit – North Side Gang war

How did this gang war start, and why did it happen? Find out more:

Why did Capone get into the crime business? Here is his answer:

What did the crime world in Chicago look like? Here is a 1931 map showing which gang owns what and where major events like the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre happened:

Map sourced from the Daily Mail.

The Creation of the North Side Gang:

How Torrio and Capone took over the Chicago Outfit:

How exactly did Capone and his like control the Chicago police and the city’s politicians? One news paper journalist shortly after the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre tells us:

Images retrieved from Sullivan, Edward Dean. “I Know You, Al.” The North American Review 228, no. 3 (1929): 257-64.

How did the war start exactly? Why did the Genna Family and O’Banion have a falling out which made O’Banion want to retaliate by making the Gennas pay off their debt?

The Genna Family had sold O’Banion numerous different batches of rotgut, something that made O’Banion furious. This caused him to cancel all future orders from the Gennas and bad mouthed them all over the City, severely damaging their reputation. This equally angered the presumably embarrased Genna Family, causing them to escalate the situation by encroaching on O’Banions territory. O’Banion took this encroachment to a meeting with Torrio and demanded he force the Genna brothers to pay their debt of $30,000 off, something that Torrio eventually did.

Charles River Editors, The Chicago Outfit and the North Side Gang: The History and Legacy of Chicago’s Most Notorious Rival Mobs (Charles River Editors, March 7, 2019), Chapter Chicago Goes to War, Kindle.

My Narrative on the Project as a whole:

We original had a conversation on what to do with organized crime in Chicago. We honestly just went with the obvious, that being the North Side – South Side gang war that practically ended with the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. We also had originally decided to go with a story map, but sourcing a map for the time period and then finding the address and areas where the major crimes became kind of a pain, so we went with the timeline instead. The most tedious part was sourcing real information to use. For a series of events so popular and interesting, real scholarly work has not been really done into the events surrounding the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre and the gang war it was apart of. Honestly, that shocked me and quickly became a pain. This was the first time I have ever run into a situation where the primary sources were more easy and plentiful than the secondary and that was another surprise to me. Another thing was just the uncertainty of everything involved with criminal organizations, especially one this popularized. Books were nice, but the background info was mostly obtained from websites that specialized in mob history, so it was more of a collective reading and gathering of information to write down information as not all the websites were entirely trust worthy and their sources were not entire clear. I also had to pass up on quite a few things I found interesting, like a picture of a news paper clipping describing Hymie Weiss’ attack on Capone’s head quarter, because I just could not find proper information on where the stuff was sourced. That was the nice thing about the videos that I chose, they videos made references to books and articles, and therefore seemed to be decently reputable. Naturally, I also ran into some issues with making the timeline. It is a fairly obtuse program to use, and I had to wait up to 30 minutes for the program to refresh and accept and update the files I had linked to it. This was obviously annoying and it happened on multiple occasions, at one point while I was working on it late at night I just got so frustrated I went to bed instead of keep trying to make it work. Another issue was just simply our schedules. Neither of us had a schedule that suited the other amazingly, and thus made working on the project together somewhat difficult. Though, it should not be a surprise that in times like these the logistical side of working in groups has been made far more difficult than it should be. Another scheduling issue, for me at least, was that I had an essay and a major “long” take home test, which was essentially just another big essay, due this week along with this project. A number of compounding issues made the project far more difficult than it should have been, but it was nothing that we weren’t able to overcome. Overall I found the project to be an interesting one, and I am curious as to what the final will look like as you mentioned that it was going to be similar to this one, except dealing with data. Honestly, I do not know if I should be excited for it, or nervous about it.



American Mafia History. “American Mafia History: The American Mafia.”

Actual Tommy Guns Used. 2014. Image.

Al Capone. Image.

Al Capone Armored Cadillac. 2020. Image. Accessed October 9.

Angelo Genna. 1978. Image.

Binder, John J., and Eghigian, Mars Jr. “Gangland Killings in Chicago, 1919-1933.” Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice 29, no. 2 (May 2013): 219-232.

Binder, John J., and Arthur J. Lurigio. “Introduction to the Special Issue—The Rise and Fall of Chicago’s Organized Crime Family: A Brief History of the Outfit.” Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice 29, no. 2 (May 2013): 184–97.

Binder, John J., and Arthur J. Lurigio. “The Chicago Outfit: Challenging the Myths About Organized Crime.” Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice 29, no. 2 (May 2013): 198-218.

Capone On Train. 2017. Image.

Cavendish, Richard. “The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in Chicago.” History Today 59 no. 2 (Feb 2009).

Charles River Editors. The Chicago Outfit and the North Side Gang: The History and Legacy of Chicago’s Most Notorious Rival Mobs. Charles River Editors, March 2019.

Hymie Weiss Funeral. 2020. Image. Accessed October 9.

Friends Of O’banion. 2019. Image.

Gangland Map. 1931. Daily Mail News.

Massacre Scene 4. 2004. Image.

Mike Merlo, 1921. 2020. Image. Accessed October 9.

My Al Capone Museum. 2007. Newspaper Announcing Drucci’s Death. Image.

National Museum of American History. 2020. Dumping Wine, Chicago, Illinois, 1921. Image. Accessed October 9.

O’banion In 1921. 2020. Image.

PBS. 2017. Capone Mugshot. Image.

Sullivan, Edward Dean. “I Know you, Al.” The North American Review 228, no. 3 (1929): 257-64.

The Mob Museum. 2019. Capone And Nucky, Atlantic City. Image.