Russian Hill is many things for many people — aren’t I profound? But if you are the wife of American gangsta Al Capone, it is one of very few neighborhoods that offers prime views of Alcatraz Island, the grim place where your husband is imprisoned. In 1934, Mae Capone, who was the wife of said notorious bootlegger, knew this very fact, and thus she went apartment-hunting in Russian Hill.
From its archives, the Chronicle pulled some real estate gossip from Sept. 23, 1934, nearly 75 years ago today:
Mrs. Al Capone is apartment hunting in San Francisco. And she has selected as the district for her future home – well for the next seven years, anyway – the brow of Russian Hill. From her new apartment window – if she gets one – Mrs. Capone will be able to glance across at the grim island fortress of Alcatraz Island where her husband is imprisoned with the rest of America’s “public enemies.”
Want to see more of this antique realty buzz?
The report that Mrs. Capone had tried to rent a $200-a-month apartment in an exclusive apartment building on Russian Hill yesterday created consternation among the fashionable residents of the district. Mrs. Capone didn’t get the apartment and continued her search among other expensive buildings in the area. Her inquiries were made only at buildings with a view of Alcatraz. But if Mrs. Capone wishes to communicate with her husband, only visible signals during the day or flashing lights at night will serve her object. Warden James Johnston of Alcatraz has announced that no visitors will be allowed to see his prisoners at any time.
Read some more dusty words from this week 25, 50, and 100 years ago at SFGate.