Rose & Johnny: An Untold Tale of Love, the Mob, and Murder
“Real history means knocking mouse shit out of drawers.”
~A Wise Man
Gangland murder, speakeasies, a newly-married couple, a fortune in illegal liquor, Cal City’s Sin Strip, West Hammond…
Putting together history before it finds its way into a library is like putting together a puzzle from the back—you’re not sure what you’re making, you just have to fit the pieces together the right way.
In Buckley Homestead’s “History on Tap” event—held this Saturday from 6PM-11PM at Buckley Homestead County Park in Lowell, Indiana—this is exactly how the current and previous park manager, programmers, and amateur historians uncovered the tale of Rose & Johnny: documents piled in shoeboxes, envelopes musty with age and mouse piss, sepia-toned photos creased deeply at their corners.
Using that, general knowledge of Lake County’s history, and some serious newspaper searches, staff uncovered a humanizing and heart-breaking story of a young couple deeply in love and separated by the notoriously violent Chicago Outfit, then headed by Al Capone.
If you’ve ever wanted to a chance to be at the front row of history, this is it, and that’s not an overstatement. This website is not getting paid to write this, or performing any favors, but was given the chance to see firsthand how a fascinating and substantiated entry in the history of Indiana and organized crime comes together.
We’ve already run a story on Michael Carrozzo’s dairy farm hideaway in Hobart, Indiana, where a former union boss and “associate” of Capone bought up 900 acres of farmland to start a pastoral paradise and post-Prohibition business in the 1930s.
We’ve also covered the discovery of the Spilotro brothers beaten to death and buried on the edge of a Morocco cornfield in the 80s, a murder so abhorrent that it inspired a pivotal scene in Martin Scorsese’s ‘Casino.’ Indiana has many legends, and among those are legendary criminals—the Reno Gang, John Dillinger, Harry Pierpont, Sam Bass…
There’s no shortage.
But Johnny Mundo, the subject of Buckley Homestead’s “History on Tap” event, wasn’t a criminal in the cultural sense. Or at least not a violent criminal. He was a well-liked, very adept businessman. His involvement in the criminal underworld of the 1920s and 30s was always reluctant and never came to violence…until he himself became the target.
You’d like to know more, I know, and I promise to share it in a future story…but not until after the event on Saturday, July 27th, 2019 at Buckley Homestead County Park.
Here’s the tech specs for the 21+ event: besides the history reveal, there will be drinks, music, dancing, and food, provided by St. John Malt Brothers and Carpenter Creek Cellar Winery. The event begins at 6PM. You’ll be strong-armed out at around 11PM.
Tickets (which include two beer tickets) cost $20 if purchased online HERE or call the Lake County park office at 219-769-7275. Those same tickets will cost $25 at the door. If you’d rather forgo the drinks and come just for the music, a little food, and the history reveal, then “designated driver” tickets cost only $10.
Cold beer and good music is always a plus, but if you’re as interested in Indiana’s history as I am (and if you’re reading this article, I am guessing that’s true), then spending a couple hours browsing the artifacts of two lives that bridged some of the most turbulent times in American history is the real treat.
And if you’re disappointed, I’ll be there and you can feel free to blame me.