She and her partner James, a restaurant manager and master chef by trade, are not dissuaded, however, as there is a large interest in reopening the major Northern Wisconsin attraction and historic site. “We’re asking everyone interested in saving this priceless treasure to donate 1920s Chicago prohibition period artifacts—clothing, bootlegging stills, home furnishings, equipment—or cash, both of which we will use to refurnish the properties,”
Casper says she recently located Capone’s original bedroom furniture through an out-of-state auction house; she is certain more furnishings and pieces from the property will appear over time. “While we have raised the needed capital to purchase the land and buildings, and while the bank has accepted our offer, we are finding it hard to get a loan for restoration based on artifacts we might or might not find,” she explains. “That’s why we’re asking the public to help. If investors see that we have the public’s support and that we’re able to raise a portion of the money for refurnishing ourselves, then it is likely that we’ll secure the extra money we need to refurnish the museum and other buildings—and that property developers whose intentions do not include preservation lose in the end.”
Casper and her partner have “big plans” for the Capone Couderay Hideout, including keeping the attraction and tours open year-round; building a new, on-site bed and breakfast reminiscent of a 1920’s speakeasy; and opening the Hideout’s lodge to the public for the very first time. “Visitors will even be able to spend the night in Al Capone’s bedroom,” Casper says. “We also plan to offer 1920s-gangster-
Owning Al Capone’s Hideout has been a life-long dream of Casper’s; she has long been fascinated with the mysterious Capone and worked at the attraction’s soda shop when she was 16 years old. “My dream is ‘this close’ to coming true,” she says. Casper and her partner James have been in talks with officials at Chippewa Bank and the Sawyer County Historical Society about their plans to reopen the Capone landmark, which would bring an economic boon to the region.“The economic impact to the area is huge,” Casper says, explaining that thirty-five jobs were lost when the Hideout closed. “Since we want to keep the Hideout open year-round, and since we plan to expand by adding new lodging, we are finding strong support wherever we turn,” she adds. The couple has received blessings from members of the historical society and the county development board, and has also taken steps to make Capone’s Hideout a historical landmark, “…so that this level of uncertainty about the future of the property won’t ever happen again,” Casper explains. "Chicago has already seen the loss of Al Capone's 'Castle' as it was called,"Casper says, "which was torn down in the 1995. We want to prevent this happening to yet another part of Chicago's history."
To learn how you can help the Caspers maintain this important piece of history and nostalgia—not to mention to bring back the positive economic impact of the Capone Hideout on the Couderay region—visit www.alcaponehideout.org. The site also explains Casper’s personal connection to and interest in Capone’s Hideout, and provides additional details for prospective donors and a brief history of the property as well.
Contact Gudrun Casper
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Museum, restaurant, and historical preservation of infamous Al Capone Hideout in Couderay, Wisconsin.