It is difficult to know how some rumors begin, or how much truth remains among inflated legends. And, when dealing with a character as robust and notorious as gangster Al Capone, the “leftovers” trend toward glossy, Hollywood-style glimpses in lieu of stark and direct observance.
In 1985, the Village of Inverness, just outside of Chicago, dedicated one of their historical properties into government service. The property, known locally as Four Silos, was originally built and owned by a local developer, Arthur McIntosh, who is also credited with naming the village after the capital of his native Scotland Highlands. Known as Deer Grove in the 1920s, McIntosh wanted to preserve the wooded and rolling landscape that had reminded him of his home and, when he began to develop and sell the land, instituted a 1-acre minimum for purchases. That minimum remained in place until only recently, which resulted in stately homes with a lot of elbow room for growing families.
What is known for sure is that McIntosh, as a part of his development business, brought prospective buyers to Four Silos — and likely used the high windows to show the beautiful lay of the land. Currently, the property is the Village Hall, with the mayor’s office tucked into one of the round structures.
Al Capone, known for serving in and later heading a crime syndicate that smuggled and bootlegged liquor during prohibition (among other illegal activities), made Chicago his homebase from roughly 1920 to 1931, when he was convicted of tax evasion and sentenced to federal prison. It has been well documented that Capone and his men often escaped the city — sometimes using fake names while lounging in luxury hotels in Omaha or Kansas City — and had several properties used both as safe havens and warehouses or distribution hubs for illicit inventory.
Those who believe the rumors that Al Capone and his men utilized the Four Silos property as a hideout, point to the useful windows that would have provided easy views of the countryside and early alerts to encroaching federal agents, the Untouchables or rival gang members.
Perhaps the Village of Inverness is in no hurry to associate itself with the likes of Al Capone — and who could really blame them for that? — but there is no signage on the site to mark it as a place the gangster once stood or as a distribution hub for illicit activities. If Al Capone was here, it was kept on the down-low.
On the other side of the coin, however, if the site could be definitively connected to Al Capone, it could be one of the few still standing in the area. The garage — site of the infamous St. Valentine’s Day Massacre — has been demolished. The Lexington Hotel — where Capone lived — was also demolished in the mid-1990s. A Sawyer County, Wisconsin property previously opened to the public as Capone’s hideout is now closed, one of the most recent owners claiming that the place was gutted of all historical items prior to sale. Another area speakeasy with rumored ties to Al Capone closed earlier this year.
There are, of course, numerous properties throughout Chicagoland (and neighboring Wisconsin) that claim a connection to the gangster or one of his many associates or rivals. Many of the connections, however, are also rumored. In that respect, a visit to the Inverness Village Hall — with the Veterans Memorial across the parking lot — is downright refreshing for its lack of notoriety.
If you plan to stop by and research the rumors for yourself, the building is open weekdays (excluding holidays) until 4:30 p.m.