History: Yonkers Union Leader's 1952 Murder Unsolved

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The grave of union leader John Acropolis is set on a hill just inside the Jackson Avenue entrance to Mount Hope Cemetery in Hastings. Photo Credit: Danny LoPriore

HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. -- Former Teamsters Local 456 President John Acropolis, who was shot to death in Yonkers in August 1952, is buried in Mount Hope Cemetery in Hastings.

The 60-year-old murder mystery is still unsolved and considered a cold case (still opened) by the Yonkers Police Department. 

The Teamsters Union headquarters in Elmsford is named for Acropolis, who is honored each Labor Day by members.

Acropolis, a Greek-American orphan with a Colgate University education, gained power in the Teamsters Union in the 1940s when he helped grow the union into a viable force in Westchester County.
Raised in the Leake & Watts Home in Yonkers and  fostered by two Yonkers school teachers at age 14, Acropolis was a top student/athlete at Yonkers High School and an All-American basketball player at Colgate.
While home from college during summer breaks, Acropolis worked as a truck driver and began to take an interest in helping to grow Local 456. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and came home to work with the Teamsters.
He served as president of Local 456 from 1946 until Aug. 26, 1952 when he was found murdered in his apartment on Warburton Ave., the result of two bullets to the back of his head.

After becoming president of Local 456, Acropolis allegedly challenged the Genovese crime family regarding its control of certain garbage carting contracts in the suburbs in Westchester.  

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