Only in Chicago: A cop-turned-gangster’s home from the bootleg era is on the market for $489,500.
Here’s the backstory: Sometime in the 1920s, Al Capone took notice of a cop’s exceptional driving skills—while chasing down one of Capone’s goons. So he offered him a job.
The cop took the gig, and 20-something years later, after gaining some serious street cred in the mob outfit—and a nice nest egg along the way—that ex-cop built his dream home in the Windy City. And now that very place is on the market, with many of its original gangster flourishes intact.
Capone’s recruit was George “Babe” Tuffanelli. He may not be a famous criminal, but don’t let that fool you: Tuffanelli wielded some serious power working for Capone. He ran bootlegging outfits for the crime king and ruled criminal activity in the nearby city of Blue Island, whose mayor basically turned a blind eye to Tuffanelli, according to DNAInfo.com.
“He was one of Capone’s big guys, one of his top guys that ran the whole south suburban area [Blue Island] down there,” listing agent Michael Tootelian says.
His success paid off, at least when it came to his digs. Perhaps the coolest thing about this 4,099-square-foot home, located near the Beverly Woods area, is how well it’s been preserved.
“All the functioning stuff—like the mechanicals, appliances—have been updated,” Tootelian says. Other than that, the home is basically a 1947, made-to-order gangster’s paradise.
Subtlety is not the main takeaway from this place; excess is more like it. Check the home’s four fireplaces, made with materials such as marble, stone, and granite. The wood floors are original and gorgeous, having been protected by a layer of carpet. The bathrooms—especially the master—are gloriously vintage.
And then there’s the downstairs. “It’s huge,” Tootelian says. “You keep going into room after room after room. And it’s mostly all original.”
The large stone fireplace still has an emblazoned “T” for Tuffanelli. There’s more than enough room for pool or gambling tables and the huge wraparound wet bar with matching chairs in an incredible cow print (original, of course).
The only thing that’s no longer there is a secret tunnel, which lead to the next-door neighbor’s house. “I don’t know what he used it for, but it’s blocked off now,” Tootelian says. He says the neighbor was someone who worked with Tuffanelli.
The “T” is for Tuffanelli, of course.
One of the reasons the three-bedroom, three-bathroom house has been so well-preserved is because Tuffanelli wasn’t cheap when it came to building his fantasy abode. (What kind of self-respecting gangster would be?)
“He used the best materials he could get a hold of,” says Tootelian. For example, he notes, the home’s “huge closets that are totally cedar … still have that cedar wood smell to it.”
Tootelian says the house has changed hands only once, when the current owners’ parents (now deceased) bought the property from Tuffanelli in the 1960s. Their children inherited the home and are now selling it.
And hey, if you make friends with the neighbors, maybe you can reopen that tunnel—you never know when you need to go on the lam. Or just tunnel over to watch Netflix with your neighbors.