Route 66 News

Fire destroys former reputed brothel used by Al Capone

A brush fire destroyed two homes Saturday in the Route 66 town of Godley, Ill., including one structure that reputedly was a brothel used by notorious Chicago gangster Al Capone, reported the Joliet Herald News.

Kalvin Noonan, who owned the homes, said the fires started when township workers burned debris nearby.

Noonan said the property at 335 S. Route 53 in Grundy County has been in his family for about 25 years. Its claim to fame is a “cathouse” for Capone back when he visited the Riviera Roadhouse and Supper Club, a former Route 66 speakeasy that burned down in 2010, Noonan said.

The address on Route 53 also carried Route 66.

I ran the address through Google Maps, and it came up with this Street View image. However, I cannot vouch whether the site chosen by Google is accurate:

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I’m skeptical whether the structure was a house of prostitution frequented by Capone during the 1920s. It’s not a secret Capone spent time with ladies of the evening. But consistent details about any sort of brothel in Godley are sketchy at best.

The Legends of America site reports a house of prostitution straddled the Will and Grundy county lines, enabling its ladies to thwart police raids by simply going into another part of the house. Another version was the house of prostitution occupied a railroad car that was simply moved from one county to another if police arrived.


12 thoughts on “Fire destroys former reputed brothel used by Al Capone

  1. Sal Paradise

    Capone is becoming sort of a George Washington of whore houses in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan. Guess the guy got around. No wonder he ended up the way he did.

    I was trying to remember the name of another ‘Capone’ joint in Illinois that burned down recently. I should know the name, I actually was in the place about 14 years ago. If you remember the place remind me. Its on the tip of my tongue.

  2. James Puswaskis

    There were two brothels in Godley as recently as 1960. One was on the main hwy #66, and the second was used when the “heat was on”, and it was located in a farm house just out of town. Many a Herscher High School student lost his virginity at one of these places.

    1. carole taylor.

      It’s rumored that a number of Hinsdale youth participated in the 50’s. The guys from the class of ’60 chickened out.

      1. James Puswaskis

        I guess my first question would be how would anyone named “Carole” know about the scandals that took place in Godley Illinois. I don’t have a second question. Jim P.

  3. racquel

    Does anyone know about whore houses near st. anne, il or riverwood, il or sun river terrace that Capone frequently visited? It would have been behind shamrock golf course.

  4. John Baldwin

    The name of the house of prostitution was the Trophy Inn and was located on route Godley There was a second one randomly called the Farm back off of route 66. Police in the 1950’s ran a scam that amounted to stopping kids leaving the Trophy Inn and taking payoffs which took actual place in the basement of the Braidwood Police Station

  5. Jim

    To Racquel: They weren’t in St. Anne, they were in Hopkins Park an all black rural area in Pembroke township. Two of the main locations were “Gibbs for Ribs”, and eating joint with an operation on the second floor, and Riddell’s Country Club an elaborate setup with a bar on the first floor, and a more elaborate bar on the second floor with “rooms”. They were shut down with a tabloid magazine did an article about them and blamed a white State Senator from Kankakee for being their protector. The article was titled, “Hopkins Park, the Sin Center of the Midwest: The establishment in Riverwood 10 miles East of Kankakee and just North of Hwy. #17 was in business well into the 60’s and was called, “Roman Hanks Owl Inn”.

  6. Donald Hanke

    These whore houses are all over IL, IN, & WI.
    There used to be 3 on US 36 from Chrisman to Casner. That’s a lot for about 60 miles if highway.

  7. Donald Hanke

    Lake Williamson Christian Center is the new name of one of Capone’s old haunts just south of Carlinville IL. The lake is still there and some of the old bldgs too. Most are unrecognizable though. Too many improvements

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