Schenectady’s Vice District Defies Mayor

Schenectady's Vice District.pngDec. 3, 1924: “Two young men, wearing plaid comforters, stumbled down Edison Avenue to-night. They brought up uncertainly before a two-storied frame house, the drawn blinds of which hid jolly red lights. One ventured into an unlighted area-way and presently beckoned his companion to follow.

“Schenectady’s ‘gut’ reopened for business to-night, quietly, for the first time since Police Captain Albert L. Youmans, Nemesis of the underworld, was shot to death last Friday night where Cow Horn Creek crosses Edison, Van Guysling and connecting streets. Lights shone brazenly from the Globe Hotel. Sadies’s, Mme. Anderson’s and other notorious resorts gave evidence of activity by shafts of light which reached the street front.”

Capt. Albert Youmans, a 22-year veteran of the Schenectady police force and “the Nemesis of the underworld” was murdered by a shotgun blast November 28, 1924. He was apparently putting too much pressure on the elements that ran that part of the city, which included houses of prostitution, gambling, and speakeasies. Seizing the opportunity, Mayor William Campbell demanded the resignation of the longtime Chief of Police, George F. Rynex, as well as Detective Sergeant Diamente Ragucci, presumably for their complicity in allowing vice to flourish, and vowed to clean up the police department and the city.

“It was learned that the county and city authorities virtually have agreed that a man known as ‘the King of the Underworld,’ strangely missing from Schenectady since last Saturday, holds the key to the murder mystery. This man is being sought in a New England city…

“Mayor Campbell is on trial before the Chamber of Commerce and other social and moral agencies of the community. So far these bodies have supported his declarations enthusiastically. The ministerial association meets tomorrow morning and it is considered certain that it will pass a resolution indorsing the Mayor’s intention to rid the city of its strongly intrenched underworld.”

Next up: Schenectady brings up Billy Funston from NYC.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *