Saturday, March 23, 2013

Chicago Gangster Spike O'Donnell, His Life & Times

"Chicago Gangster Spike O'Donnell  Talks To Senate Committee" was the title on the video so I had to check it out. In it he offers some lofty advice on crime prevention  in what looks like a speech to the press after his testimony. All in all it got me thinking about who he was and as it turns out Spike was major underworld figure on the southwest side for parts of four decades. He got his start in 1916 when Al Capone was still in N.Y.C. He survived the beer wars in the twenties by not coming in direct conflict with the Capone mob and controlling territory not as desirable as others.

Not that he lacked for action he did fight long running wars with two other southwest side mobsters. First there was the long running battle with the Saltis-McErlane Gang. It was during this conflict that Spike became a footnote in history by being the first victim of an assassination attempt by Thompson machine gun. We present below a video that goes into more detail. Then he conducted another war with the Danny McGeoghegan Gang during the 1930's.

He managed to survive these battles as well as major legal problems until  1943 when the odds catch up with him as he is gunned down on 83rd street near Loomis.

At ChiTownView one of our areas of interest is organized crime history in Chicago which goes back to the 1860's and was not invented by Al Capone. He only took advantage of a political system that was in place for decades before he came in on the scene.The best way to get an over view of what we have to offer in this area is check out the Chicago Crime History playlist.

Thanks to the ChicagoCrimeSceneProject & MyAlCaponeMuseum for background info & inspiration.

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