Al Capone had a fortress in Chicago, a mansion in Palm Springs, and a rumour he also had a hideaway in the Madawaska Valley.
Capone was the flashily-dressed hood who became the prosperous and impeccably tailored self-made businessman. He had a ready smile and a quick handshake, which often turned out to be fatal for it took five hundred gangland murderers to make Capone the boss of Chicago. His friends called him Al, the papers called him 'Scarface' but the public knew him as Public Enemy Number One.
For more than forty years that reputation was enough to keep Capone’s Madawaska Valley hideout a virtual secret.
Al Capone's Hideaway #1
Circa late 1930's
The wilderness hideout was established in the 1930’s just north of Quadeville at 386 Letterkenny Road by remnants of Capone’s gangland empire as they sought sanctuary from rival gangs and the FBI. Quadeville is a short distance east of Combermere and this has become a fascinating story over the years for all residents and visitors to the Madawaska Valley.
Al Capone's Hideaway #2
A long, log building was built by local carpenters to the specifications laid down by Capone’s second-in-command; one of Capone’s star gunmen. The building no longer looks like the fortress it was when Capone’s gang was there. It was converted and furnished as a summer home, and at one time owned by Harvey and Rene Mesdag of Toronto. The building and property has been sold several times and is currently owned by someone of Pembroke.
Al Capone's Hideaway #3
A former owner of the property, who also provided the pine logs for the structure had become uneasy over non-payment. He decided to go to Toledo and he presented himself at the gangsters headquarters where he was met by a 'front' man. The Canadian was grilled by one of Capone’s lieutenants, who happened to be wearing a holstered handgun. "Now we can settle this matter between ourselves in the back office or you can come and take it up directly with the big boss at 10 o’clock sharp." These were the two choices he was given. The words were loaded with menace. The Canadian replied that he would return and talk to the boss. He walked quickly to his waiting cab where the nervous driver warned him to get back to Canada as fast as he could. He did. The Canadian was August Quade and the amount of the bill was $1,500 which was a pile of money in the 30’s. It is interesting to note that no one ever saw Capone at the hideaway or in stores in the area.
Al Capone's Hideaway #4
Al Capone's Hideaway #5