There Goes the Neighborhood, a popular gangster tour led by mob historian and author of “The Chicago Outfit” John Binder, returns on Sunday, June 28. The tour highlights 15 homes in Oak Park and River Forest that were previously owned by crime bosses such as Anthony “Tough Tony” Capezio, Sam Giancana, Jack “Machine Gun” McGurn, Tony Accardo, and Paul Ricca.
“Obviously there were a lot of people involved in organized crime in Chicago,” Binder tells the Tribune. “What makes Oak Park and River Forest more interesting is the status of the guys that lived here. There’s several guys who are at the very top, the absolute top of organized crime.”
The tour will include an extensive history on the criminal activity of the former gangsters, and how the buildings themselves have changed over the years. “Most every home has seen some remodeling,” said Binder. “In some cases, the large estate that the gangster owned has now been subdivided and the side properties of the house have been sold off. The house is still there, but his yard is gone.”
Binder’s exterior tour lasts about two hours and it is done in a group setting on a minibus. The mob historian will educate tourists on everything from the Prohibition to the nineties when the last of the crime moguls passed away.
OPRF was an ideal location for organized criminals in decades past due to the expansive lot sizes and quality of homes available. The communities offered a quieter lifestyle than the bustle of the city, according to Binder.
“They wanted to be left alone when they were not working and they were careful not to do anything that would give the authorities cause to bother them,” said Binder. “If you didn’t break a local ordinance, [police] had no authority.”
The tours will take place at 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, both beginning at the Oak Park Visitors Center, 1010 Lake St., Oak Park. Tickets will cost $27-$30. For more information, go to visitoakpark.com or call 708-848-1500.