Friday, November 17, 2006

The Gangs of St. Louis - Introduction

On rare occasions, I know things that most people don't or that most people shouldn't. Today it dawned on me that I know way too much about the old gangs, mobs or the Mafia in St. Louis. I have a book that taught me everything there was to know about gangs and the Mafia and I thought it'd be neat to post my own chapters (in my words and from my standpoint) every day or as often as possible. Today, I'm going to start off with an Introduction and after that I'll post a chapter about each family or "turf". I think it's very intriguing and hopefully you will too.
When you think of gangs, the Mob or the Mafia, what cities come to mind? New York? Chicago? Los Angeles? Las Vegas? I'm going to go out on a limb and assume St. Louis isn't on the list of cities that you'd associate with "gangsters". If that were so, unfortunately, you'd miss out on an infamous history of gangs. St. Louis played an important role in the history of gang or mob activity.

Al Capone visited St. Louis regularly and used the alias, "Al Brown", when staying at the old Jefferson Hotel. Most of his visits were in attempt to gain control over Southern Illinois, which is just across the Mighty Mississippi from St. Louis. But, even Capone knew the gangsters in St. Louis demanded respect and weren't to be taken lightly. He was once quoted as saying, "those guys are cuckoo" about the St. Louis mobsters he encountered. Shortly thereafter, the gang that "whacked" all the Italians that Capone sent to do his dirty work in St. Louis adopted the name, "The Cuckoos".

While there were always gangsters in bigger, better-known cities that were ruthless, frigid and rough, most all gangsters in St. Louis possessed those qualities. The simple fact is that the hoodlums in St. Louis could stand toe-to-toe with the biggest, baddest gangs in any city including New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.

The combined effectiveness of St. Louis gangs such as "The Cuckoos", "The Egan Rats", the Buster Wortmans, the Leisures, the Giordanos, and the Vitales left a gory, vicious trail of murders and crime. This was seldom seen in the United States at that time.

The gangsters of St. Louis created a folklore far more adored than any other. They were mysteriously worshipped and respected by other gangsters, citizens and anyone else knowledgeable of their dealings.

These men were envied for their big black luxury cars, fancy suits and beautiful homes. They were admired as businessmen as well as for their "toughness". And, these guys meant business - all business, all the time. They even got their grips on one of the best Boxers of all time.

Soon, you'll know more about these gangs, gangsters and families than you ever wanted to know. Enjoy.

5 comments:

Barb said...

Can't wait to read more!

Twisted Sister said...

Hmmmm.........I had an uncle named Al Brown. ;)

Seriously though, very interesting reading!

Lisa said...

That is SO cool. I had no idea.... Facinating... Tell me more!

Anonymous said...

What about The Green Ones?

Mikala said...

I just haven't gotten to them yet. I'll cover everything - but it's not possible to do it all on one post.

I'll try to get another post up soon...but I've been busy with work lately and haven't had a chance to pull my info. together.

I'll get there...eventually.