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Angelo Bruno House Doesn't Pass Muster with Historical Committee

The advisory committee said the mafia mobster isn't a person of significance

The home of the late Philadelphia head mobster Angelo Bruno did not prove significant enough for the advisory Committee on Historical Designation to recommend its approval for historical designation.

Bruno's South Philly rowhouse on 934 Snyder Street was nominated by Celeste Morello in February for being the home of a person of significance whose actions in the late 1950s through the 1980s, Morello argues, played a significant role in local and federal law enforcement techniques later developed to fight organized crime.

"If Angelo Bruno was not the leader, the head, the boss, whatever term you want to use of the mafia in Philadelphia, there would not have been an organized crime strike force established in this city," Morello said at the meeting.

where Philly mobster Angelo Bruno lived and was killed

A photo posted by Gunnar Sigurdur Zöega Gudmundsson (@gunnicool) on

But the Philadelphia Historical Commission staff said in their recommendation that the while the nomination does present a series of coincidences, there is no direct link that Bruno served as a catalyst for techniques used by the FBI. "Bruno may be notorious and infamous," their recommendation said, "but he is not necessarily a person of significance."

When the advisory committee asked Bruno's daughter Jean, who currently lives in the house, if she was in support of the nomination, she said, "I think it's an honor."

Members of the committee, who noted that they were stepping into a territory that has no precedent within Philadelphia or the nation—i.e. deeming a mobster's house historic—said the case was simply not strong enough for them to recommend historical designation to the historical committee.

What some committee members found more interesting was the modesty of the home. "This is a remarkable insight in living relatively modestly in an average row house, and that in and of itself is interesting," committee member Jeffrey Cohen told Morello. "But that’s not your main argument."

In addition to being Bruno's residence, the mafia boss was killed in front of it in 1980 while sitting in his car.

Because the committee is advisory, their decision to not recommend historical designation to the Philadelphia Historical Commission is non-binding. A nomination for Bruno's home can re-submitted and be considered by the commission at a later date.