“These murders went out of the comprehension of a civilized city,” the Chicago Tribune editorialized, after seven men were killed, execution-style, in the city’s North Side on February 14, 1929. Under the authorization of South Side crime boss Al Capone, six members of the rival Bugs Moran gang and an optician with mobster aspirations were lined up against a brick wall and blasted through with bullets. The gruesome incident was featured on the front pages of newspapers across the country the next day, and provoked public outrage that would eventually lead to Capone’s downfall.
A few months ago, photo editors at the Chicago Tribune unearthed two forgotten boxes of glass-plate negatives in their archives labeled “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.” They combined the newly discovered images with previous prints to produce this luridly nostalgic look at the crime scene, funerals, and coroner’s inquest.