KNI Communications office in Chicago’s historic Uptown neighborhood has a unique and colorful history. It is located in the heart of the Uptown entertainment district at the intersection of Broadway and Lawrence Avenue, directly above the famous Green Mill Jazz Club, the oldest continuously running jazz club in the United States. The Green Mill, founded in 1907, has been featured in films for decades, including such favorites as High Fidelity, The Breakup and 1981’s The Thief, in which it is famously blown up by a mobster played by James Caan. The Green Mill was one of Al Capone’s favorite hangouts and visitors to our building can still sit in his favorite booth, located behind the main bar in order to facilitate his easy escape to underground tunnels to evade law enforcement.
While Capone dominated headlines in the 1920s, bank robber John Dillinger – who became the FBI’s first “Public Enemy Number One” – was the most famous criminal of the 1930s. Bold as Dillinger was (he had robbed 24 banks and four police stations), by Spring of 1934 he had grown increasingly concerned about being recognized and captured. He arranged to have his face dramatically altered and his fingerprints burned off with acid by using the services of underworld surgeons. KNI Communications’ office above the Green Mill was, in the 1930s, the office of Dr. Harold Cassidy who helped perform the notorious procedure on Dillinger in June of 1934. Dr. Cassidy’s best days may have been behind him however, as he gave Dillinger an overdose of ether which nearly led to his death.
Despite going to such extreme lengths to avoid recognition and capture, John Dillinger was a loyal Cubs fan to the end and couldn’t resist going to Wrigley Field where he would have been seen by tens of thousands of Chicagoans. Almost immediately after the surgery he attended Cubs home games on June 8th (a 4-3 loss to the Reds) and June 26th (a 5-2 win over the Dodgers). Dillinger’s good mood over that Cubs victory was short lived however; he was found and killed by federal agents outside the Biograph theatre on July 22nd, 1934.
Our office has unique Dillinger photos and artifacts (a gift from a happy client / history fan) as well as a wide array of local and international political memorabilia including the original Chicago Tribune “Dewey Defeats Truman” newspaper from the 1948 Presidential Election.
We hope you will contact us to talk Chicago history and politics – and discuss ways in which we can work together!