OVERHEARD ON THE WEB
When it comes to Al Capone’s connections to the Emerald Coast, it is nigh impossible to separate fact from fiction as this chatter on The Log’s Facebook page demonstrates.
S.s. Smith: I was told years ago that Capone stayed at the old Val'p Inn, which has since been torn down. It was an apartment building in the early ’70s.
Grunttgh Ogrearm: I was told the same thing. Perhaps it is an old Urban legend, but I am inclined to believe it. This was not called the Playground for nothing. Mayberry it was not.
Chuck Ingram: Among some of those I also heard over the years that he spent lots of time at what used to be Bacons by the Sea when I came here and later Hunan II. There was a city councilman back in my day that was positive that the mafia was still active in FWB in the mid-80s, and someone told me that he said I was in their pocket during my city manager days. I'm here to state that not only was I not in their pocket, they were not and have never been here "running the show."
Jason Gwaltney: I was just having a Facebook conversation with David Edge, great grandson of B. P. Edge. Anyone who lives in Niceville knows the Edge family. Anyway I asked him how much truth these stories have. He did confirm that Capone came down to Valparaiso on occasion to escape the "heat" in Chicago and would stay at the Valpariso Inn. He said his grandmother used to cook for Capone when he'd come down. Maybe David will read this one day and provide more information but if anyone knows the history of the area it would be him.
Michael Dupe: I've heard since I got stationed here in 1987 that Capone had a summer house built where Soundside Hurlburt is today...
Will Mac: I heard Bootsy and Puddin Tang stayed at the ole "Mustang Motel"... Big Al doesn't have anything on Crookaloosa...
Kelly Lambert Webb: I was told that Al Capone was running whiskey into Poquito Bayou in Shalimar?
Bryan Holmes: I have heard from an old man that lives in Bluewater Bay that was supposedly friends with Big Al. And the gentleman I spoke with was one of the founders of BWB with Big Al.
Doreen Wyant: He owned a huge casino right across from the Hurlburt Field main gate it was there for years then got torn down and at one time it was a thrift shop.
Christine Cooper: We should be proud. Maybe I can design and market Emerald Coast 'Gangsta' wear. Have pistols on bikinis and Speedos. Bulletproof life jackets... “Al Capone was here” T-shirts...
Capone story kindles Moonshine memories
I am a district judge in Andalusia, Ala., and am a subscriber to The Destin Log. I read with interest your article on Al Capone on the front page on June 30.
Several years ago, an Opp doctor with heavy ties to the Fort Walton area told me that when he was a child his father pointed out a house on the point of Garnier's Bayou and told him that was Capone's house.
Here in my county, in the North Creek community area where moonshining was prevalent during Prohibition, it was well known among the old-timers (some of whom I have interviewed) that Capone sent his trucks to the area to pick up moonshine made by Mr. Rob Thompson, a farmer and moonshiner. Mr. Thompson was apparently well known for being a perfectionist with his whiskey and never sold his whiskey “before its time.”
In interviewing Mr. Thompson's daughter, I discovered that Mr. Thompson went to Camp Walton (now Fort Walton Beach) frequently. I have surmised he went down there to sell his whiskey to some of the old clubs, that Capone drank some of Rob's excellent whiskey and made inquiries as to who made such good whiskey; introductions were made and Capone and Mr. Rob thereafter did business with each other directly.
I have a memo written by Count Darling of Andalusia, attesting that Mr. Rob and Capone had such a business together.
Hopefully, your article will give others with info some incentive to pass their knowledge on to you as well. Thanks for a very interesting article!