Al Capone: The Infamous Mobster's and his Sprawling Empire

Al Capone: The Infamous Mobster's and his Sprawling Empire

In American crime history, there are few names that evoke the same level of fear, intrigue, and notoriety as Al Capone. His criminal empire stretched far beyond the borders of Chicago, reaching into neighboring states like Minnesota, Arkansas, and more. When exploring Capone’s history, you will uncover a complex web of illicit activities, power struggles, and lasting legacies. 

The Rise of Capone in Chicago: 

Al Capone's ascent to mob royalty in Chicago during the 1920s is truly the stuff of legends. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Capone's journey to infamy began when he moved to Chicago and joined Johnny Torrio's criminal organization. With the rise of Prohibition in 1920, which banned the sale of alcohol, Capone saw an opportunity to amass wealth and influence by cornering the illegal liquor trade in Chicago. This bootlegging operation was extremely successful and solidified Capone as a valued member of the mob. Through a combination of ruthlessness, charisma, and strategic alliances, Capone quickly rose through the ranks to become the de facto kingpin of Chicago's underworld. When gang leader Johnny Torrio was injured in an assassination attempt, he decided to retire as the crime boss and passed leadership to Capone in 1925. 

The St. Valentine's Day Massacre: 

Interestingly, one of the most infamous events associated with Al Capone has never been officially connected to him. This event was the St. Valentine's Day Massacre of 1929. In this brutal incident, seven members of a rival gang were gunned down in broad daylight. This incident is often attributed to Capone and his gang despite him being in Florida at the time. This tragic event solidified Capone's reputation as a ruthless and cunning crime boss. While the massacre occurred in Chicago, its reverberations were felt far beyond the city limits, sending shockwaves through law enforcement agencies across the nation.  

The Expansion of Capone's Operation: 

Although Chicago served as Capone's primary base of operations, the state of Minnesota played a significant role in his criminal enterprise. The state's proximity to Chicago made it an ideal location for smuggling alcohol across state lines during Prohibition. Additionally, Minnesota's bustling cities, such as Minneapolis and St. Paul, provided lucrative markets for Capone's bootlegging. Capone's reach extended into Minnesota through a network of corrupt officials, businessmen, and mob associates, which allowed him to maintain a stranglehold on the region's criminal operations. 

The Northwestern National Life Insurance Company Connection: 

One intriguing link between Capone and Minnesota is his purported ownership of the Northwestern National Life Insurance Company. While Capone never officially held a stake in the company, rumors swirled for years about his secret involvement in its operations. Some historians speculate that Capone used the insurance company as a front for money laundering and other illegal endeavors. By expanding into several business ventures such as NNLIC, he successfully expanding his reach and power. 

The Legacy of Capone's Influence: 

Al Capone's criminal empire transcended geographical boundaries, encompassing both Chicago and Minnesota in its web of corruption and violence. From his rise to power in Chicago to his influence over illicit activities in neighboring states, Capone left an indelible mark on the Midwest during the tumultuous years of Prohibition.  


Bergreen, Laurence. "Capone: The Man and the Era." Simon and Schuster, 1994. 

Kobler, John. "Capone: The Life and World of Al Capone." Da Capo Press, 2003. 

Binder, John J. "The Chicago Outfit." Arcadia Publishing, 2003. 

Okrent, Daniel. "Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition." Scribner, 2010. 

Back to blog