American Mafia History Website

Timeline Part 4. 1932-1949

With the boss of bosses position eliminated, a national Commission is installed as the conflict mediating system for the American Mafia. Prohibition ends, cutting off organized crime's enormous bootlegging income, and mobsters go in search of new rackets.(The buttons below may be used to jump ahead to a certain era, to earlier or later timeline pages or to the main website menu.)

1932
United States
 
The Mafia officially closes its membership rolls. After huge membership leap during Castellamarese War, Mafia leadership feels smaller numbers would increase profits and reduce risks.
Source:
1932
Chicago, IL US
Al Capone, Frank Nitti, Tony Accardo
Nitti takes over day-to-day operations of Chicago underworld while Capone is in prison. Accardo serves as underboss. Chicago becames virtually united under the new regime and Chicago Family leadership becomes a cooperative group effort.
Source:
1932 Feb 9
New York, NY US
Vincent Coll, Owney Madden, Dutch Schultz
"Mad Dog" Coll is gunned down in a telephone booth in a 23rd Street drugstore. Schultz is believed partly responsible. It is also believed that Owney Madden cooperated on the hit, as it was Madden who was on the other end of the phone conversation. The drugstore was just a short distance from Madden's home in the London Terrace apartments.
Source:
1932 Sep 1
New York, NY US
James J. Walker
Mayor Walker resigns.
Source:
1933 Mar 7
Philadelphia, PA US
Salvatore Sabella, John Avena, A. Domenico Pollina
Philadelphia Mafia leadership comes to trial for May 1927 slayings of Cocozza and Zanghi. Defendants are found not guilty in one-day trial.
Source:
1933
Chicago, IL US
Sam Giancana, Tony Accardo
Giancana, noticed for taking a recent prison stretch "with honor," is appointed to be Accardo's chauffer and bodyguard. Accardo is an important man in the post-Capone Chicago mob but not yet the boss.
Source:
1933
New York, NY US
Fiorello LaGuardia
Reformer LaGuardia is elected mayor of New York City.
Source:
1934
Chicago, IL US
Phil D'Andrea
D'Andrea is president of Chicago's Unione Siciliana.
Source:
1934 Jul 2
Hartford, CT US
Paul Castellano
Castellano robs a Hartford shop. Is identified and arrested for armed robbery upon his return to New York. Castellano serves just over three months of his one-year sentence before being released.
Source:
1934 Oct
New York NY US
Fiorello LaGuardia, Frank Costello
LaGuardia takes on Costello by smashing 1,000 of Costello's slot machines. Costello had permits for the machines.
Source:
1934 Dec
Brooklyn, NY US
Paul Castellano
Upon his release from the Hartford County Jail, Castellano is highly regarded by hometown Mafiosi.
Source:

1935

Return

1935 Mar
Montgomery County, PA US
Salvatore Sabella
Sabella is arrested, convicted and imprisoned for three months for illegally distilling alcohol.
Source:
1935
Hot Springs, AR US
Owney Madden
Madden leaves New York and settles in Hot Springs, where he establishes gambling operations and forms political attachments.
Source:
1935 Jul 16
New York, NY US
Ignazio Lupo
Lupo is charged with extortion. He has been working to compel Italian bakers to join his "union."
Source:
1935
New York, NY US
Arthur Flegenheimer (Dutch Schultz), Charlie Luciano
Luciano-led Commission authorizes the murder of Dutch Schultz. Schultz had been planning to assassinate New York State prosecutor Thomas Dewey.
Source:
1935 Oct 23
Newark, NJ US
Arthur Flegenheimer
Schultz is murdered, along with his gang leadership, at Palace Chophouse in Newark, NJ.
Source:
1935 Dec 21
New York, NY US
Fiorello LaGuardia, Ciro Terranova
LaGuardia temporarily prohibits the purchase or sale of artichokes within the city limits, arguing that Ciro Terranova and organized criminals profit from an illegal monopoly on the vegetable. He also authorizes the police to arrest Terranova as soon as he is seen crossing into Manhattan.
Source:
1936 Jan 4
New York, NY US
Ciro Terranova
Police arrest Terranova, charging him with vagrancy, as he attempts to enter Manhattan.
Source:
1936
New York, NY US
Charlie Luciano, Thomas Dewey
Dewey wins a conviction against Charlie Luciano, linking the crime boss with a New York prostitution syndicate. Luciano is jailed at Dannemora.
Source:
1936
Philadelphia, PA US
John Avena, Lanzetti Brothers, Joe Bruno
The Lanzettis gun down Philly mob boss Avena at the corner of Washington and Passyunk Avenues. Joe Bruno steps to leadership of the local Mafia organization. Bruno (Joe Dovi) runs Philadelphia affairs from his headquarters in New Jersey.
Source:
1936 Jul 15
Washington, DC US
Ignazio Lupo, Franklin Roosevelt
FDR finds that Lupo has violated the terms of his conditional release, sends him back to prison to serve the remainder of his counterfeiting sentence.
Source:
1936 Aug
New York, NY US
Ciro Terranova
Terranova is arrested again for vagrancy as he attempts to enter Manhattan. Terranova is subjected to intense questioning and ridicule in a lineup, reportedly wilts under the pressure.
Source:
1937
New York, NY US
Ciro Terranova
Terranova is arrested again as a vagrant. Without income, he loses his Pelham Manor home.
Source:
1937
New Orleans, LA US
Nicola Gentile
Gentile is arrested for drug trafficking in New Orleans. Mafia higher-ups order Gentile, who has been profoundly unhappy with the disrespect shown to him since 1931, to flee to Sicily and avoid trial.
Source:
1938
New York, NY US
Ciro Terranova
Quietly returns to live in the city.
Source:
1938 Feb 19
New York, NY US
Ciro Terranova
Terranova is admitted to a hospital after a stroke. He dies the next day. He is buried in Calvary Cemetery in Brooklyn.
Source:
1939
Chicago, IL US
Sam Giancana
Giancana begins a three-year prison stay.
Source:
1939 Summer
Los Angeles, CA US
Jack Dragna, Benjamin Siegel
Government pressure forces the shutdown of Dragna's offshore gambling ships, which had been doing good business since the 1920s. Siegel, who participated in the gambling racket in L.A. and became involved in the motion picture industry, turns his attention to Las Vegas. Dragna fails to see the possibilities in the nearby desert.
Source:
1939 Aug 24
New York, NY US
Louis Buchalter, J. Edgar Hoover, Walter Winchell
Law enforcement agencies and the public clamor for prosecution of Lepke. Through Winchell, Lepke turns himself in to Hoover to face flimsy federal charges. But, while in custody, New York City prepares capital case against the Murder, Inc., leader, which will later result in his execution.
Source:
1939
New Orleans, LA US
Nicola Gentile
Out on bail, Gentile flees back to Sicily to escape prosecution.
Source:
1939
Philadelphia, PA US
Willie Lanzetti
War between Philly Mafia and Lanzetti brothers results in the death of William Lanzetti. His remains were found in a burlap bag. The remaining Lanzettis flee the city.
Source:
1939
New York, NY US
Vito Genovese
Genovese is wanted by police on murder charges. He escapes to Italy.
Source:
1939
Chicago, IL US
Alphonse Capone
Capone is released from Alcatraz, but he is mentally incompetent, the result of a lost battle with syphillis.
Source:

1940

Return

1940 Feb 2
Brooklyn, NY US
Abe Reles
"Kid Twist" Reles is arrested for a 1933 murder. His legal predicament causes him to begin feeding authorities information about Murder Inc. and the national crime Syndicate.
Source:
1940 May 23
New York, NY US
Abe Reles, Harry Maione, Frank Abbandando
Thanks largely to Reles' information, the state wins a conviction against Harry Maione and Frank Abbandando for the May 25, 1937, killing of George Rudnick. While the conviction is overturned on appeal, a second trial results in another conviction and a death sentence for the hitmen.
Source:
1941 Jun 12
New York, NY US
Abe Reles, Harry Strauss, Bugsy Goldstein
Strauss and Goldstein are electrocuted. The two were found guilty of murder based on Reles testimony.
Source:
1941 Nov 12
New York, NY US
Abe Reles, Louis Buchalter, Albert Anastasia, Frank Costello
Abe "Kid Twist" Reles dies after plunge from his room window in the Half Moon Hotel. Hitman Reles was key witness in the case against Lepke Buchalter and Murder, Inc. By the time of Reles's unfortunate accident, Lepke was already on death row. Reles was about to begin testifying in state case against Anastasia. That would have brought law enforcement right into the underworld's ruling Commission. It is believed that Costello paid police officers guarding Reles to see to it that he did not testify.
Source:
1942 Feb 19
New York, NY US
Harry Maione, Frank Abbandando
Death sentence against Maione and Abbandando is carried out.
Source:
1942 May 12
Comstock, NY US
Charlie Luciano
Luciano is moved to Great Meadow Prison in Comstock, NY, while he provides vague assistance (the precise nature of which is unknown) to military intelligence. Luciano had been doing his time in the isolated and dreary Clinton State Prison at Dannemora. The move to Comstock permitted greater visitation by attorney Moses Polakoff and friend/business associate Meyer Lansky.
Source:
1942
Chicago, IL US
Sam Giancana, Tony Accardo
Upon Giancana's release from prison, he becomes the top adviser and enforcer for Accardo.
Source:
1943 Jan 25
Newark, NJ US
Gaetano Lucchese
Lucchese is naturalized a citizen of US.
Source:
1943
Chicago, IL US
Frank Nitti, Phil D'Andrea, Paul Ricca, Tony Accardo
A federal grand jury indicts Chicago Mafia leadership for extortion relating to the show business industry. Among the accused are Frank Nitti, Phil D'Andrea, Paul Ricca and John Roselli. Nitti is believed to have committed suicide upon learning of the indictment. Accardo becomes the leader of the Chicago Family.
Source:
1943 Oct 28
New Orleans, LA US
Carlo Matranga
Matranga dies of natural causes. He was an influential member of the Mafia in New Orleans.
Source:
1944 Mar 4
New York, NY US
Louis Buchalter
Lepke is sent to the electric chair.
Source:
1944
Bergen County, NJ US
Joe Adonis
Longtime Brooklyn Mafia power Adonis leaves his Brooklyn empire and moves to Bergen County, NJ.
Source:
1944
Sicily, Italy
Calogero Vizzini
Vizzini, who survived the Mafia purges by siding with the Fascists, switches sides and embraces the invading Allies. He becomes overall Mafia head in Sicily and a political power.
Source:

1945

Return

1945
New York, NY US
Charlie Luciano
Reportedly as compensation for his assistance to the Allied war effort, Luciano is freed from prison but deported to Italy.
Source:
1945
New York, NY US
Vito Genovese, Frank Costello, Charlie Luciano
Genovese returns from Italy, faces murder trial and is acquitted. In Luciano's absence, Genovese and Costello compete for dominance in the Luciano "Family" and on the commission.
Source:
1946 Jan
New York, NY US
Charlie Luciano, Thomas Dewey
Gov. Dewey announces that Luciano will be freed and deported, reward for his service to military intelligence during the war.
Source:
1946 Feb 2
Ellis Island, NY, US
Charlie Luciano
In preparation for his departure, Luciano is moved from Great Meadow Prison to Ellis Island.
Source:
1946 Feb 9
Ellis Island, NY US
Charlie Luciano
Luciano departs for Italy aboard the Laura Keene. Legend says he was treated to a large party with underworld colleagues before his departure.
Source:
1946 Jul
Atlantic City, NJ US
A small Mafia gathering is noted by federal agents in this city.
Source:
1946
Philadelphia, PA US
Joe Bruno, Joe Ida
Joe Ida takes control of the Philadelphia Mafia organization.
Source:
1946
Palermo, Sicily Italy
Charlie Luciano, Calogero Vizzino
Luciano and Vizzini reportedly meet in Palermo, decide to increase cooperation between Sicily and U.S. Mafia groups. Legends say Luciano becomes a lieutenant to Vizzini.
Source:
1946 Oct
Havana, Cuba
Charlie Luciano, Meyer Lansky
Luciano travels to Havana to meet with Lansky and other business associates.
Source:
1946 Dec 22
Havana, Cuba
Charlie Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Benjamin Siegel
A Mafia convention is reportedly held at Havana's Hotel Nacional. At the meeting, it is believed that leaders decide to eliminate Benjamin Siegel.
Source:
1947 Jan 25
Miami, FL US
Al Capone
Capone dies in Miami of natural causes.
Source:
1947
Bergen County, NJ US
Albert Anastasia
Anastasia follows Adonis from Brooklyn to Bergen County, NJ, moving into a home just a short distance from Adonis's. The two begin meeting regularly, along with the Moretti brothers and Tony "Bender" Strollo at Duke's Bar & Grill in Cliffside, NJ.
Source:
1947 May 30
New Orleans, LA US
Sam Carolla, Carlos Marcello
Carolla is deported to Sicily. New boss of New Orleans Mafia is unknown. It may be Marcello.
Source:
1947 Jun 20
Beverly Hills, CA, US
Benjamin Siegel
After losing financial control of a mob-sponsored Flamingo hotel construction project, Siegel is assassinated under orders from the commission. He is shot through a window at the home of girlfriend Virginia Hill.
Source:
1947 Sep 20
New York, NY US
Fiorello LaGuardia
Former mayor LaGuardia, who battled organized crime in New York City for more than a decade, dies after a battle with cancer.
Source: