TGB Approves Clean Up Plan for Al Capone's Main House
By Joe Morey
The LCO Tribal Governing Board (TGB) approved $2,000 for a consortium of tribal members to do some minor clean-up of the main house at Al Capone’s Hideout, Phase 1 of a plan to restore the property into a 1920’s style tourist attraction.
“We are working with the tribal members to develop a plan to open it this summer,” said Jason Weaver, LCO Secretary-Treasurer. “We are still open to ideas and have allocated more funding to restore this property.”
Last year the TGB spent $40,000 to replace the roof on the main house and to fix some other issues. Weaver said there is currently a bid for just over $80,000 to do repairs on the restaurant building.
Tribal member Sue Aasen requested the $2,000 for the clean-up on behalf of the group working to restore the Hideout.
“We developed the idea interviewing people in the community to see what their interests were and a lot of interest was about the Hideout,” Aasen said. “So, we started interviewing our neighbors and relatives and heard the same thing. People want to see the Hideout restored.”
Aasen indicated the group began checking into whether it was feasible to open it as a tourist attraction. She said the main house is in really good shape, only needing some minor clean-up.
“We hope to have that house open as a tourist attraction in the early summer,” Aasen said. She told the TGB this would be Phase 1, cleaning it, then Phase 2 would be to furnish it with old style 1920’s furniture that they could find through area antique stores.
Aasen said the clean-up phase would take them 30 days. She said now is the best time because all the work is interior.
There is a 2-BR groundskeeper house on the property that could be remodeled and repaired and rented out as a weekly vacation rental, Aasen suggested. “It’s structurally in good shape, and the barn is in good shape as well, which could be made into a souvenir or gift shop.”
Aasen also suggested there could be paddle boats and fishing on the lake.
As far as the restaurant building, which used to be Al Capone’s gun towner, holding cell and garage but was later remodeled into a restaurant, Aasen said needs to be preserved as a historic building.
“There is water on the floor of the garage and the roof is in bad shape,” Aasen said. The work would cost $80,000 and then to put in a kitchen, if TGB decided on that option, would be an additional cost.
Aasen also said there are TANF workers, or people looking to work off fines through the courts, as possible ways to get some work done.
“We have been in contact with the agent for Al Capones niece Deirdre Capone, who is an Author and lives in Florida,” said Jason Weaver, LCO Secretary-Treasurer. “She wrote a book about Al and is the last remaining family member with the name Capone. We are considering bringing her to LCO to do a presentation and book signing as well as take a tour of the Hideout to get her insights and memories.”
Weaver noted this is all in the preliminary stages, but we are looking forward to the possibilities.
Weaver mentioned the current focus is on maintaining what is there and protecting the aging buildings.