The Chicago Syndicate: Capone, Mobsters, Relaxed in Pingree Grove
The Mission Impossible Backpack

Monday, February 12, 2007

Capone, Mobsters, Relaxed in Pingree Grove

What would the world’s most famous mobster want with little Pingree Grove?

Well, there were no police, few people were around and everyone in town minded their own business, locals say, making the little village an ideal place for Al Capone to relax.

Resident Alice Thurnau, 86, says Al Capone was even rumored to have owned a house in Pingree Grove. That house no longer stands.

Alice’s husband, Kenneth, 92, also known as “Shorty,” is the oldest resident in town to have been born and raised in Pingree Grove.

He says that when he was 12, he once had a personal encounter with the mobster. One day in 1927, Capone brought his car to the Thurnau Garage, opened by his father, Jack, a one-time mayor of Pingree Grove. Capone had a flat tire and asked Shorty if he’d change it. And after he did, Capone rewarded him with a tip. “It was pretty big,” Shorty said.

But Capone isn’t the only mobster thought to have cooled his heels in Pingree Grove.

Various residents say Sam “Teets” Battaglia, a member of the Chicago Outfit and close associate of Sam Giancana, who died in prison in 1973FBI Files, maintained a house and farm on Damisch Road. But in Pingree Grove, Battaglia was known for furnishing all of the children with free pop, Alice Thurnau said.

“He wanted to make a good name for himself,” she said.

Thanks to Lenore T. Adkins


  1. I know he owned a horse farm on Danish and Highland Ave. I worked there and on weekends the "family" visited and we hired helpers were allowed to eat with them briefly. Cheese,wine,and sausage was the meal. When my friend and I went to ask for the job we encountered about 4 Cadillacs with suit wearing drivers standing alongside the cars. Two older, suited gentlemen were seated on the porch,we were introduced to Mr Battaglia and
    Mr. DiVito. Employed for 2 summers. Nothing remains of the 4 barns,house and 2 pools. Lots of stories and memories.

    1. Love the comments! So interesting to hear that some has a story to share about Pingree Grove

  2. Nice to know you remember Dave. Mark



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