A gruesome piece of Southern Illinois history is headed for a museum in Benton. It's the gallows from which bootlegging gangster Charlie Birger was hanged in 1928. A family found the wood and rebar pieces in a barn in Grand Tower and notified the administrators of the Franklin County Jail Museum.
Birger was the last person to be publicly hanged in the state when he was executed for the murder of the mayor of West City. The gallows will replace the replica in the museum's collection that already includes Birger's machine guns and bulletproof vest.