Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Capone's mirror

Story and photos by Bruce Thorson

July 28, 2009, O'Neill, Neb: The Golden Hotel, opened in 1913, was a thriving business in the 1920s. The rooms were modern in its day, offering telephone service in the room, hot and cold water and some rooms had a private bath.

Christine Carman and her son, Jake, purchased the hotel three years ago this month. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

I asked Christine what was so historic about the hotel. She said, "The rumor is that Al Capone stayed at the hotel." Chicago's most famous mobster had brothers that lived in the area, according to Christine.

"The mirror," she said, "was reportedly installed at Capone's request so he could look out his room and see who was coming up the stairs."

Another famous man moved to O'Neill. William Froelich, born in Stromsburg, moved into a home just two blocks north of the hotel. Froelich worked for the U.S. Attorney General's Office in Washington D.C. and took part in prosecuting Capone for tax evasion in 1931.

Not always pretty sights

During my travels I've camped in some places with interesting and scenic views. This dumpster had an overload of garbage and the flies to go with it. Fortunately the wind was always blowing the right way. It stunk. Another aspect of these small towns is free camping. Located right next to the rodeo arena, the campground had full electrical and water hook-ups...no charge! The dumpster really was the only unpleasant item in the campground. The rest of the place was well-groomed...Bruce Thorson

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