Capone Place 2005

Since my last visit, they’ve added blocks to the top to give the building the castle appearance it had back in the day.

I was very fortunate to receive an email from a fellow geocacher who offered to let me visit Crystal Lake (his wife has worked there quite a while). Seeing how this building and the stories have been a fascination of mine since I was about 6, I jumped on the opportunity. I’ve wanted to see the inside of this building forever. We had a limited reign because the higher-ups weren’t working, but I’m sure I’ll be back to see more.

When you first walk in, there are articles and pictures of the building when it was a hotel. My guide told us some were actually found in the walls, being used as insulation.

In all honesty, not much remains that would suggest the place was once a hotel that Capone stayed at. The “Indian Room”, which was once the dining room, is now more of a lounge. Some relics from the hotel remain, but not many. We were told the curtains & chandeliers in the Indian Room are originals, as are the handrails throughout the building.

This was about all we could see inside. There’s an outside second level, but it was closed due to the ice. So from here we moved on to what they call the boathouse. The boathouse is right on the lake with the second level connecting it to the main building. This is where the fabled “escape tunnel” was. This tunnel, which my uncle explored about 30 years ago, allegedly goes under Crystal Lake itself. Depending on the story you hear, it was either one of Capone’s escape routes or where the wine cellars were hidden. The tunnel has since been sealed off, and the top part is simply for storage now.
The boathouse is in pretty bad shape. The pillars on it are crumbling or overgrown. The whole building has been neglected.

I went here to try and dispel some of the tales I heard, and I came home with more. Supposedly this tiny window near the top of the building was used as a lookout for anybody approaching the place. Armed mobsters were said to keep an eye for any suspicious looking carriages.

A few more of the stories I heard today:

There are supposed to be 2 ghosts in the building: Gracie is the benevolent one, and “The bellboy” is mischievous.

The Spanish Mansion was allegedly where the mob burned bodies of anyone they needed to get rid of.

Overall, this was a nice trip. It was nice to fulfill a childhood wish. While I didn’t see as much as I had hoped, it was interesting to learn more of the history about the building and hear some more of the tales associated with it. I hope I can go back and see the upper floors soon.

Special thanks to the newfound friends who made this possible.

Author: Stu