This is the actual piece of brick wall against which several gangsters were shot and killed in the St. Valentine's Day Massacre in Chicago in 1929. Apparently, when the actual building was being demolished in recent times, a private citizen purchased the portion of the wall with the bullet holes and blood spatter from 1929. Upon his death in the early 2000s, the collector's daughter took the wall/bricks and eventually sold them to the Mob Museum in Las Vegas. (We toured it on our most recent visit to Vegas in February 2013--totally worth the ticket price, I might add.)
A piece of building constructed before the turn of last century captures pieces of a horrible moment in time in its bricks. It's taken apart and moved to another location. It's taken apart and moved again over 2,000 miles away to share that horrible moment with people who weren't even born when that moment occurred. Le Corbusier said that International Style architecture was meant to be relevant anywhere and not connected to any particular local style--it would carry its own meaning wherever it was built and viewed. Can we say the same for this piece of wall from Chicago? Does the meaning of this moment in time change when we take the wall out of a Chicago warehouse and reconstruct it on the third floor of the former Las Vegas Courthouse? The bullet holes are circled, just in case the audience can't figure out its meaning, after looking at so many exhibits of tommy guns, bootlegger's cases, and FBI bugging and recording devices.