Wednesday is Dec. 5, a truly significant date in American history. No, we're not talking about Johnny Rzeznik's birthday here. We're talking about Repeal Day, the anniversary of the 1933 repeal of hard liquor prohibition.
The Prohibition era, of course, has a particularly special place in Chicago's history, as well. It is from this time that Al Capone, America's "best known gangster," came to become one of the most recognized symbols of the sense of lawlessness stimulated by prohibition in Chicago. The uneasy relationship between gangsters and the public trying to get what they were denied by government helped define the city during this time.
In honor of the 79th anniversary of prohibition's repeal, the Chicago History Museum has shared a collection of photographs from this dark period of the city's past. They are also hosting a special "Cocktails and Capone" event Wednesday -- beginning at 6 p.m. -- featuring John Russick, the museum's Director of Curatorial Affairs, and Deirdre Capone, Al Capone's great niece.
Captions from the images below were taken from John Russick’s book “Historic Photos of Chicago Crime the Capone Era.” All museum call numbers have been included for readers' reference.