A Mafia summit meeting was held at the home of Joseph “Joe the Barber” Barbara in Apalachin, New York on November 14, 1957. Head of the Luciano crime family Vito Genovese called the meeting to discuss various matters and to attempt to take control of the governing body of the Mafia in America, the Commission having long been divided between a “Conservative Faction” that wanted to run the Mafia in America as the Mafia was conducted in Sicily, and a “Liberal Faction”, led by Genovese, that wanted the Mafia in America to chart its own course free of any Sicilian traditions. About 100 Mafiosi showed up, with local law enforcement and the New York State Police quickly wondering why all these expensive cars were showing up at a house in sleepy Apalachin. “Joe the Barber” had been under occasional surveillance by the State Police prior to the meeting. A raid was conducted and about 58 members of the Mafia, including Genovese, were picked up. They all claimed that “Joe the Barber” had been sick and they had come to visit him.
For the Mafia the Apalachin meeting was a long term disaster as it confirmed in the public mind the existence of the Mafia. After Apalchin, J. Edgar Hoover could no longer ignore the Mafia, and a long term war began between the Federal government and the Mafia which would eventually reduce the Mafia to a shadow of its former self.