Forest Park has so far resisted video gambling, which is allowed by the state of Illinois, though the issue appears to be making a comeback. But gambling and Forest Park are not strangers to each other, as this 1921 report attests.
Connor’s Saloon, located at the northwest corner of Harlem Avenue and Madison Street was raided by deputy sheriffs one sunny Saturday afternoon in January 1921. According to the Jan. 15, 1921 Forest Park Review, the officers confiscated a sack full of silver dollars — about $1,000 worth and an additional $2,000 in cash. In addition, the roulette wheel, faro table, and crap layout and other gambling paraphernalia were loaded on a truck by the deputies. The story was also picked up in the Chicago Tribune.
Bill Lewis, the proprietor, of Connor’s Saloon, was a “well known character in Forest Park.” He ran a number of curiosities at the Forest Park Amusement Park when it was open. He could be seen around town driving a six-cylinder, red-wheeled Hudson automobile and was a familiar figure in town.
According to reports, 50 men were arrested in the raid.
“Most of the men shown in the picture were not residents of Forest Park,” the Forest Park Review article noted adding, “though there are a few faces which look familiar.”
Harry “Slim” Hale, the manager, was booked as keeper and fifty others were also arrested. Cash bail was furnished for all the prisoners by Lewis, the proprietor.