Friday, April 1, 2016

Neighborhood of the Real Goodfellas

About ten years ago we moved from a neighborhood where we had raised our children.  We spent 20 years in a home situated in a subdivision  where kids could be found in every household.   Swing sets, trampolines and soccer back stops were found in most backyards.  But our kids were grown, and we no longer needed to live in such a bustling place.

After putting our home on the market, we searched for a home that would meet our needs as empty-nesters.  Yet, we were still young enough to enjoy life to its fullest. So, we found a home in a subdivision tucked away from the  areas of commerce and schoolbuses.  It seemed nice enough.  We even have our own park with walking trails and fishing ponds, tennis courts, picnic gazebo and playground for visiting little guests.  We liked it.

I am a history nut of sorts.  Before long I did some historical research on the area, finding that a large farm and saw mill used to occupy the place of our new home.  But, I had to fast forward for some reason, and looked into the not so distant past of my new neighborhood.  I found that some very interesting characters also liked my neighborhood, too.

There were a few clues.  And, listening to some whispered tales told by a few of the residents who had lived here far longer than we had...well, let's just say the neighborhood now has a past that I only read about in the newspapers.

You see, members of the Chicago Outfit lived here before we arrived.  It suited them just fine I guess.  Only one way in and out.  Secure and out of the way, the Goodfellas could carry on their business, living just a few homes away, or a block or two away from each other.  How convenient for them.

To support my story, I found an article in the Chicago Tribune written about the several members who lived here, mostly from the 70s through the early 2000s.  Some of these characters are still alive, and I don't write about the living.  But, those deceased include Frank Calabrese, Joe Ferriola and Doves Aiuppa, just to name a few.

Neighbors told me that there was never a problem with crime in this neighborhood.  You see, the well known residents seemed to keep those kind of troublemakers out of the area.  They were good neighbors and kept unto themselves.  What more could you ask for?

If you are interested, a good article to read about my neighborhood can be found in the archives of the Chicago Tribune, entitled
"Mob Bosses Find a Home in Oak Brook", written by Ronald Koziol and John  O'Brien, published on March 12, 1989.

These Goodfellas had good taste...and so do I.  So, tell me, what kind of history does your neighborhood story reveal.  Do a little research and share the stories.

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