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Al Capone’s sunken speakeasy revealed in haunting photos

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Haunting images reveal the wrecked party boat where guests of Al Capone enjoyed booze-fuelled celebrations during prohibition.

Built as a lumber barge in 1889, the Keuka modified hands in 1928, and shortly transformed right into a floating dance hall complete with live music and bar.

And the person who kept the booze flowing was none aside from the notorious gangster Al Capone, in line with local lore.

But bad luck followed the Keuka – her manager was shot by a drunken patron, and the vessel mysteriously sank in August 1932.

Haunting images reveal the wrecked party boat where guests of Al Capone enjoyed booze-fuelled celebrations during prohibition

Built as a lumber barge in 1889, the Keuka changed hands in 1928, and soon transformed into a floating dance hall complete with live music and bar

Built as a lumber barge in 1889, the Keuka modified hands in 1928, and shortly transformed right into a floating dance hall complete with live music and bar

The Prohibition Era 

The Prohibition Era began in 1920 when the 18th Amendment to the US Structure, which banned the manufacture, transportation and sale of intoxicating liquors, went into effect with the passage of the Volstead Act.

Despite the brand new laws, Prohibition was difficult to implement. 

The rise of the illegal production and sale of liquor (referred to as ‘bootlegging’), the proliferation of speakeasies (illegal drinking spots) and the accompanying rise in gang violence and arranged crime led to waning support for Prohibition by the top of the Nineteen Twenties. 

In early 1933, Congress adopted a resolution proposing a twenty first Amendment to the Structure that will repeal the 18th. 

The twenty first Amendment was ratified on December 5, 1933, ending Prohibition. 

Source: History.com 

Now the wreck has been revealed in eerie recent images.

Chris Roxburgh documented the ship beneath the surface of Lake Charlevoix, Michigan, during a visit along with his dive partner Lee Rosenberg.

He said: ‘My belief and native lore is that Capone and his men supplied this casino ship during its time of operation within the prohibition era, from 1929 to 1932.

‘Capone had a house near Charlevoix and other people claim to have seen him back in those years. He had several “hide out houses in northern Michigan” – a simple drive up from Chicago.

‘The rumour is that, after the manager of the ship was shot on board, it was scuttled by a neighborhood church group that was uninterested in the devil’s parties, booze, music, drinks and ladies.’

He continued: ‘After I dive this wreck, I imagine what it was like back in 1929 when the parties and gambling were going strong, and the booze was flowing like a river.

‘Down inside, the ship is long open areas, because the ship is 200 feet long and over two stories tall.

‘The limelight shines through the port holes casting shadows that move as we make our way through the party barge.

‘The wreck is undamaged and upright with good lighting and really clear water. It eerily lurks under the surface with many stories to inform.’

The ship’s fame as a speakeasy was well established.

Chris Roxburgh documented the ship beneath the surface of Lake Charlevoix, Michigan, during a visit with his dive partner Lee Rosenberg

Chris Roxburgh documented the ship beneath the surface of Lake Charlevoix, Michigan, during a visit along with his dive partner Lee Rosenberg

The ship was 'one of the places where everyone knew you could get a drink' during prohibition, reports the Northern Express, a Michigan newspaper

The ship was ‘considered one of the places where everyone knew you would get a drink’ during prohibition, reports the Northern Express, a Michigan newspaper

It was ‘considered one of the places where everyone knew you would get a drink’ during prohibition, reports the Northern Express, a Michigan newspaper.

And from the center of Lake Charlevoix, she had a vantage point over every approach, stopping any surprises from the police.

‘I’d imagine any person was getting paid off – everyone could hear and see the parties from shore,’ said Mr Roxburgh.

Nevertheless it was removed from smooth sailing for the Keuka.

From the middle of Lake Charlevoix, the ship had a vantage point over every approach, preventing any surprises from the police

From the center of Lake Charlevoix, the ship had a vantage point over every approach, stopping any surprises from the police

The ship was old and in such disrepair that she reportedly had to be pumped out daily, with a man hired for the job rumoured to have been paid in whiskey

The ship was old and in such disrepair that she reportedly needed to be pumped out day by day, with a person hired for the job rumoured to have been paid in whiskey

She was old and in such disrepair that she reportedly needed to be pumped out day by day, with a person hired for the job rumoured to have been paid in whiskey.

Then, on Latest 12 months’s Day 1931, a story broke that sealed her fate.

Ed Latham, the barge’s manager, had been shot by a drunken customer, said The Boyne Citizen, a newspaper based in Boyne City, on the lake’s southeastern shore.

The fate of the shooter and his victim is unclear, but it surely reportedly prompted Captain J.H. Gallagher to shut up shop.

The following 12 months, the Keuka sank.

Alphonse Capone (pictured in  his mugshot from 1939) may be the most celebrated, or infamous, mobster in American history

Alphonse Capone (pictured in  his mugshot from 1939) often is the most celebrated, or infamous, mobster in American history

One contemporary account of the sinking quoted by the Northern Express could find no explanation for a way it happened.

It said: ‘The Keuka was riding safely Saturday with no evidence that just a few hours later would find her in the underside of the lake.

‘Nevertheless, something happened, and the boat went down.

‘There was some cause for the modified conditions, but at the moment the explanation is indefinite and a subject of conjecture on the a part of the general public.’

Today the Keuka lies at a depth of 50ft, a brief distance from town of Charlevoix.

Al Capone: Probably the most infamous mobster in American history

Alphonse Capone may be the most celebrated, or infamous, mobster in American history

Alphonse Capone often is the most celebrated, or infamous, mobster in American history

Alphonse Capone often is the most celebrated, or infamous, mobster in American history. 

Growing up in Latest York City, Capone was energetic within the Five Points gang, a criminal enterprise of mostly younger Italian-Americans in Manhattan that also graduated such well-known mobsters as Charlie ‘Lucky’ Luciano and Johnny Torrio. 

It was in Latest York that Capone suffered a facial wound in a fight at a brothel, earning him the nickname ‘Scarface.’

From 1925 through 1929, Capone was the most-visible mobster in America. 

Escalating Mob violence in Chicago culminated with the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre on February 14, 1929. 

Although Capone was at his vacation house near Miami on the time of the massacre and never arrested for the crime, he was widely suspected of ordering the massacre. 

The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre happened only a month before Capone was arrested by federal agents for contempt of court for his failure to reply a federal subpoena, and he would ultimately be sentenced to 6 months on that charge.

But before he served his time on the contempt charge, Capone and his bodyguard were arrested in Philadelphia for carrying concealed weapons. Capone was sentenced to at least one 12 months in Pennsylvania’s Eastern State Penitentiary. 

He served nine months, earning time without work for good behavior, and was released in March 1930.

On October 18, 1931, Capone was convicted of tax evasion and sentenced to 11 years in federal prison. 

Capone was infected with syphilis, a sexually transmitted disease, which in advanced cases was then incurable. 

By the point he left Alcatraz in 1939, the disease had profoundly affected his mental and physical health. Doctors reported that Capone had, in 1939, the cognitive processes of a 12-year-old child. 

He essentially retired along with his family to his Florida mansion, where he died in 1947 at age 48.

Source: The Mob Museum 

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