CHICAGO — When Barbara Hogsette bought her home in Grand Crossing in 1963, she didn't know she was buying Al Capone's old digs.
Shortly after buying the home, Hogsette found out she would be living in the infamous gangster's house. But for Hogsette the news made no difference.
"I didn't think anything of it," Hogsette said. "To me, it didn't matter who had it owned it before. He wasn't going to be living there."
Mauricio Peña discusses his walk-through tour of Capone's former house:
The house was a perfect place for her to raise her son and live close to her parents.
Now Hogsette, 77, a retired Chicago Public Schools teacher who lives in the first-floor unit with her 9-year-old dog Petunia, is hoping someone else will want to live in the 106-year-old home.
"It's too expensive to maintain," said Hogsette, who is hoping to move to California to be near her son.
In 1963, Hogsette bought the building for $29,500. The current list price for home at 7244 S. Prairie Ave. is $225,000. But Hogsette has been trying to sell the six-bedroom home for a few years, and the asking price has dropped dramatically from the $450,000 it was listed for in 2009.
"This is a good neighborhood," Hogsette said. "But it's a tough market. There's been a lot of homes that have been foreclosed and boarded up. No one wants to buy a home in a neighborhood where there's several foreclosures."
Real estate agent Christine Moscinski said the home needs some work, and she fears if it's not bought the home "will be torn down, and history will be erased."
Mosciniski has started a petition looking for investors to preserve the history and turn the property into a museum.
In 1923, Capone bought the six-bedroom home fot $5,500 after moving to Chicago from New York. He lived there for eight years until he was sentenced to prison for tax evasion.
The family sold the home after his mother died in 1953. Capone died six years earlier in his Florida estate at age 48.
Hogsette said there were few modifications to the home during Capone's stay. Some of those included the installation of a brick garage for "his big car" and "two 7-foot-long bathtubs."
The bathtubs have since been removed.
Howard Ludwig toured another Chicago gangster's home now on the market:
There isn't much left of Capone's presence, Hogsette said, but that doesn't stop people from people coming by trying to get a glimpse inside.
"More people come in the spring and summer," Hogsette said. "They'll knock and ask, and sometimes if I'm feeling generous, I'll let them in."
"There was this one European couple, I don't remember where they were from, but they asked if they could come inside, and I figured if you traveled all the way from Europe to see this home, why not?"
Neighbor Vernon Nichols, 53, said he often sees people come to take a look.
"They'll drive past and then back up slowly because they aren't sure if it's the home," he said.
"There was one show that wanted to film a treasure hunt, but Hogsette said no," Nichols said."I mean if there was anything, it's been found by now."
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