Capone hideout sells for $2.6 million

Oct. 8, 2009 at 11:19 PM
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis., Oct. 8 (UPI) -- The auction of Al Capone's old hideout in northern Wisconsin drew only one bid Thursday -- from the bank that foreclosed on its previous owner.

The Chippewa Valley Bank bought the property for $2.6 million, WQOW-TV, Eau Claire, Wis., reported. About 50 people attended the auction, which lasted just minutes.

The hideout in Sawyer County includes a two-story stone lodge "Scarface" and his family owned in the late 1920s and early 1930s during Prohibition. The lodge sits on more than 400 secluded acres with a 37-acre private lake.

Guy Houston's family had bought the property from Capone's estate in the 1950s. Houston's company, The Hideout, Inc., operated it as an attraction with a restaurant and bar until the bank foreclosed in April. An earlier appraisal came in at $3.7 million.

Formerly one of the top 10 attractions in Sawyer County, the hideout is closed. The bank hasn't said what it will do with the property.

The Wisconsin Department of Tourism and the Hayward Lakes Visitor & Convention Bureau are sure it still has merit as a tourist attraction, the bureau's Linda Clifford said.

"The nostalgia of it is huge. I know with the Dillinger movie this spring, there was a lot of interest in that ... so it's great to have it here," she said.

"There was a long road leading to it for secrecy. There were gun turrets with guards and people just like to know more about stuff like that," said Pat Detloff, who lives near the hideout.

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