Jay, Christa, Melody and I went on Paul Durica's Leopold and Loeb Pocket Guide to Hell tour of Woodlawn back at the beginning of the month. Paul explained his interests as a mix of "true crime and labor issues" and began the tour with an account of how Leopold and Loeb's murder of Bobby Franks was both very odd, and yet, at the same time, part of a pattern of weird crime taking place in Hyde Park and Woodlawn in 1924, which included bullet-riddled bodies being dumped out of cars on 56th and Kimbark and some poor chap who was kidnapped, anesthetized, castrated, and dumped in a field in south Chicago. Paul then led us on a sightseeing walk that included the carriage house attached to Leopold's mansion, the site of the actual strangulation of Bobby Franks, and the boarded up Franks mansion.
Paul mentioned that in the fall he'll be giving a "secret history of the University of Chicago" tour, which we're looking forward to.
Above: The Harvard school, where Bobby Franks was a student.
Above: Paul describes Leopold's interest in ornithology. Behind him is the Leopold carriage house.
Above: A member of the tour took detailed notes throughout.
Above: The Franks mansion is one of the last surviving buildings associated with the crime.
One big lesson of the tour was that Lepold and Loeb definitely did not pull off anything resembling a "perfect crime". They botched it from the start in a number of ways that seem typical of a couple of grad students (for example, Leopold lost his idiosyncratic and readily-traceable glasses near the spot where they dumped Franks's body).
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