Updated: Feb 16
By Margie Kay
If my grandfather, Boyd L. Kithcart, hadn’t been in Chicago doing a Vaudeville act he wouldn’t have been in the garage where the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre occurred and lived to tell about it, I might not have had any interest in this event. It seems that Boyd was packing his bags in his trunk to drive home to Kansas City after performing in Chicago for a couple of weeks. He was an actor, dancer, and musician. and traveled to perform and teach theater. It was at that inopportune moment that some gangsters started shooting submachine guns, so he hid behind his vehicle until the shooting stopped and the shooters left. He quickly grabbed two of the machine guns and threw then in his trunk. We assume that he spoke with police and gave them an accurate account of what occurred inside the garage due to the details that were publicized later about the event. It would be doubtful if any witnesses outside the garage could have seen everything that occurred.
My grandfather and father had the uncanny ability to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and this was one of them. My father had those two guns in his possession until 1973, when he finally threw them in the river to get rid of them. He found out it was illegal to own guns like that and was worried that the Feds would find out about them. I wonder now how much they were worth, and also how they could have helped the investigation, and why Boyd took them in the first place, obviously without the police knowing about it.
The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre occurred on February 14, 1929 at SMC Cartage warehouse at 2122 North Clark St. Chicago. Seven members and associates of Chicago's North Side Gang headed by George “Bugs” Moran were lined up against a wall likely by rival Al Capone’s gang and shot by four unknown assailants, with two dressed as police officers. The perpetrators have never been identified or charged.
According to Wikipedia: “The victims included five members of George "Bugs" Moran's North Side Gang. Moran's second in command and brother-in-law Albert Kachellek (alias James Clark) was killed along with Adam Heyer, the gang's bookkeeper and business manager; Albert Weinshank, who managed several cleaning and dyeing operations for Moran; and gang enforcers Frank Gusenberg and Peter Gusenberg. Two associates were also shot: Reinhardt H. Schwimmer, a former optician turned gambler and gang associate; and John May, an occasional mechanic for the Moran gang.”
Chicago police found that Frank Gusenberg was still alive, despite having sustained 14 bullet wounds. He was taken to the hospital, where doctors stabilized him for short time and police tried to question him. When asked who did the shooting, Frank replied, "No one shot me." He died three hours later, taking that knowledge with him.
The massacre was likely retaliation for the North Side Gang's hijacking of some expensive whisky being illegally smuggled by Capone's gang from Canada to the U.S.
Witnesses outside the garage saw a Cadillac sedan pull up to a stop in front of the garage and saw four men get out of the car and go inside the garage. Two of the men were dressed in police uniforms and they entered the rear portion of the garage, where they found members of Moran's gang and associates Reinhart Schwimmer and John May, who was fixing one of the trucks. The policemen then ordered the men to line up against the wall, then signaled to the pair in civilian clothes who had accompanied them. Two of the killers opened fire with Thompson sub-machine guns, one with a 20-round box magazine and the other a 50-round drum. They were thorough, spraying their victims left and right, even continuing to fire after all seven had hit the floor. Two shotgun blasts afterward all but obliterated the faces of John May and James Clark, according to the coroner's report.
To give the appearance that everything was under control, the men in street clothes came out with their hands up, prodded by the two uniformed policemen. Inside the garage, the only survivors in the warehouse were May's dog "Highball" and Frank Gusenberg, despite 14 bullet wounds. He was still conscious, but he died three hours later, refusing to identify the killers.
The building was demolished in 1967. A side yard for the Margaret Day Blake apartments now occupies the land and the city says that nothing will ever be built there again. I wonder what they know about the hauntings there?
There are reports that the site is haunted, and that people hear gunshots and men moaning. In the neighboring building at 2120 N Clark Street the owner says a lot of poltergeist activity occurs inside with things falling off of shelves and counters. Some people believe that the bricks are cursed as people who took bricks had bad luck and accidents. Some of the bricks were reassembled at the Las Vegas Mob Museum and at that site people report hearing moaning, gunshots, and people falling to the ground. Many paranormal researchers believe that a heavy psychic imprint has been left behind both at the site and the reassbled wall in Las Vegas, and that would surprise no one in the paranormal field.