Eliot Ness - American Crimefighter
10229 Lake Shore Boulevard
Al Capone's nemesis created quite a stir in Bratenahl when Eliot Ness moved to 10229 Lake Shore Boulevard in 1945 with his new bride and third wife, Elisabeth "Betty" Seaver.
Eliot Ness was born on April 19, 1903, in Chicago. He was the youngest of five children born to Peter and Emma Ness, both Norwegian immigrants. Ness attended Christian Fenger High School and went on to the University of Chicago, graduating in 1925 with a degree in political science and business administration. In 1929, he returned to the University of Chicago to take a graduate course in criminology.
In December 1935, Cleveland mayor Harold Burton hired Ness as the city's Safety Director, which put him in charge of both the police and fire departments. Ness soon began a groundbreaking reform program that focused on professionalizing and modernizing the police, stopping juvenile delinquency, and improving traffic safety. He declared war on the mob, and his primary targets included "Big" Angelo Lonardo, "Little" Angelo Scirrca, Moe Dalitz, John Angerola, George Angersola, and Charles Pollizi.
His failure to find a serial killer the press called the Torso Murderer overshadowed his success.
In 1938, Ness and his wife divorced. His otherwise remarkably successful career in Cleveland withered gradually. Cleveland critics targeted his divorce, his high-profile social drinking, and his conduct in a car accident one night where he was driving drunk.
Ness remarried in 1939 and moved to Washington, D.C. in 1942 to work for the federal government. In 1944, he became a member of the board of Diebold Corporation based in Canton, Ohio. It was in 1945 when he moved to Bratenahl.
After his second divorce and third marriage, he ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Cleveland in 1947 after which he left Diebold in 1951. Ness was forced into taking various odd jobs to earn a living, including bookstore clerk and wholesaler of electronics parts and frozen hamburger patties
Ness, suffering from financial reverses, began a collaboration with the journalist, Oscar Fraley that led to the immensely successful book, The Untouchables. It was published shortly before his death. Later, he became a national personality when the television show, The Untouchables glamorized his earlier days in Chicago.
Eliot and Elisabeth stayed in the Bratenahl house for less than a decade leaving in 1956. Ness collapsed and died at his home in Coudersport, Pennsylvania, of a massive heart attack on May 16, 1957. His third wife, Elisabeth died on November 4, 1957. Their ashes were scattered in one of the small ponds on the grounds of Lake View Cemetery.