Al Capone’s Lansing-Area Hangouts
Let’s face it…Al Capone was EVERYWHERE.
There are stories about houses he owned and places he stayed all through the state: north, south, east, west, U.P…EVERYwhere. Are they all true? Probably not, but a good many of them are. The ones I’m interested in are right here, close to home.
Did Capone enjoy summer recreation at Lake Lansing Park in Haslett? Many say yes.
According to lakelansing.org,
“A group of Lansing businessmen built a social club in the middle of the lake in the 1890’s, called the Izzer Club. It was two stories, built on pilings, and had a trap door through which an unwitting guest might take an unexpected dunking. (It is rumored that during prohibition, the trap door was used to hide liquor from the feds).” (And maybe get rid of a few bodies from time-to-time? It's possible, right?)
Capone’s bootlegging business traveled across the entire state – from Chicago to Canada to New York – and made various stops in Michigan; mostly the west coast & Detroit, but some here in Mid-Michigan as well. It’s highly possible he paid visits to the pavilion in the middle of Lake Lansing. Another famous gangster, Mickey Cohen, was said to enjoy summer fun at Lake Lansing Park during the 1920’s; so gangsters definitely knew about the Lake Lansing club (the original structure, then called the ‘Pine Lake House’, burned down in 1929; it was rebuilt as the Dells Ballroom).
Did Capone stay for a summer in Lansing? Yes, he did.
In 1927, Chicago prosecutor Billy McSwiggin was machine-gunned to death, with people believing it was by Capone and his associates. With public opinion not in his favor, Capone left town and stayed that summer in Lansing with friends, and even enjoyed many dinners at Emil’s Restaurant in downtown Lansing.
(You can see & hear about Capone at Emil’s on youtube by
In the 1920’s, Round Lake Casino near Laingsburg was visited several times by Al Capone. In later years, it was a restaurant called the “Sweetwater Wharf” and later, “Jambalaya’s.” The restaurant even had a dining area in the back called the “Capone Room” (this ‘Round Lake’ is NOT to be confused with the other ‘Round Lake’ near Ludington, where Capone ALSO hung out, at the Round Lake Hotel).
So, there ya have it…and least PART of the story. But it’s 99% sure that Capone indeed spent time in Lansing, Haslett and Laingsburg.