Watch CBS News

Philadelphia Historian Loses Historic Designation Bid For Mob Boss's House

By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A bid to get historic designation for the South Philadelphia home of deceased mob boss Angelo Bruno lost a round before the Historical Commission's committee on historic designation.

The committee recommended against historian Celeste Morello's nomination of the house where the so-called "gentle Don" lived and was shot to death.

Morello contended that Bruno drew national attention to the city, albeit from law enforcement; that his criminal activity had led to an Organized Crime Strike Force being placed here, which ultimately led to the downfall of the Philadelphia mafia.

"Angelo Bruno's FBI file is part of the John F Kennedy assassination record. That's big. I don't know of anyone else in Philadelphia who has had their FBI file become part of such a critical moment in United States history," said Morello.

READ: Philadelphia Historic Commission To Consider Some Unusual Applications

Morello was philosophical after the historic designation committee decided against endorsing her Bruno house proposal:

"I understand where other people feel as though something like this should not be designated or recognized, so I'm not averse to just keeping this history in word form."

But Bruno's adoring daughter Jean, on whose behalf Morello requested the designation, was disappointed:

"I can't do enough for my father. I'm very hard on myself. The government couldn't prove that he killed anybody. Who are these people to say he did this that and the other."

Morello was more successful at getting the committee's nod for a church, as well as four art treasures within local Catholic churches, over the objections of the Archdiocese, which views it as a violation of church-state separation.

The full commission votes on all of the nominations next month.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.