Saturday, November 7, 2015
Giancana Love Nest, The Pink Clock Lounge / Golden Steer Forest Park Il
Here at ChiTownView we've told many tales about the history of organized crime in Chicago. Most of them have been stories of violence and murder this story is about love. It's about how a father and his daughter both found love in the same place. In this case the father was notorious mob boss Sam Giancana and the daughter his oldest daughter Antoinette.
The location was an obscure cocktail lounge on Roosevelt Rd. the Pink Clock. In suburban Forest Park. The men who made up Chicago's version of the Mafia aka the Outfit were slum kids born into extreme poverty in the city's near west side. It is only natural that as they gained wealth and power that they would leave the city for the peace and quiet of the suburbs.
Two of the more popular destinations for these fearsome gangsters were Oak Park and River Forest. It is ironic when you consider that these men gained their riches and power because of prohibition that these were dry communities. Oak Park until the 1970's and while you can buy liquor in a couple of place in River Forest there still no bars or restaurants that serve it by the drink.
Forest Park which is adjacent to both Oak Park and River Forest was where the mobsters and others seeking to slake their thirsts went. This village is mostly known for it's cemeteries and is home to way more dead people than living. It was also an entertainment mecca in the first half of the 20th century and was home to; an amusement park, a race track, golf course and a womens pro softball stadium. As well as the bars and lounges.
Mr. Giancana lived in a fairly modest looking bungalow on Oak Parks more working class south side. His 1950's headquarters was the infamous Armory Lounge where the FBI had an illegal wiretap installed. The Pink Clock was another mob owned bar a couple of blocks further west. Today it is home to the Golden Steer an old school steak house.
Even though I've lived in this area all my life and consider myself fairly well read on it's colorful past it's only fairly recently that I came across this story. The Pink Clock was where the recently widowed Sam would meet his female friends. He had three daughters living at home and needed a little privacy and the apartment above the bar provided that. It is also where his youngest daughter Antoinette met her first husband Carmen Manno.
I came across this little story while I was reading two books at the same time. “Double Cross” by Sam Giancana's younger brother and “Mafia Princess” which is Antoinette's memoir each provided me with part of the tale we present in this short video.