• LOCATION 48 | Unholy Toledo Tour: Gambling and Gangsters in the Glass City

    Club Devon | 6225 Benore Road

    Club Devon | 6225 Benore Road on Toledo, Ohio audio tour Unholy Toledo Tour: Gambling and Gangsters in the Glass City

    Slide over to the right here out of the traffic lane in front of the Mudjaw Bowmen Archery Club and stop where you can.

    This is the former site of Club Devon. Built in 1941, Club Devon was described by gambling expert John Scarne as the largest and most elaborate illegal gambling facility in the United States.

    Benny Aronoff's Club Devon, located just inside the Ohio border from Michigan, featured a 3,200-square-foot full-service restaurant run by Isadore Mitchell, a popular Toledo chef. The restaurant area was defined by glass block windows surrounded in light tan brick with plush, private, over-stuffed booths trimmed in chrome. Mitchell said that the glass block windows would show only shadows to the motorists traveling Benore Road.

    The amusement area was more than double the size of the restaurant at over 7,000 square feet with the lower walls a dark gray fading to a brilliant white ceiling. Lighting for the individual chrome edged tables and other games of skill and chance came from long corded drop lights. The club boasted 20 craps tables, 25 black jack tables and 8 roulette and misc. table games for an impressive grand total of 53 gaming tables! As if that weren't enough, there were 20 private viewing stations for horse betting. The ladies room of the air-conditioned club was done in the latest styles for the ladies' comfort and relaxation.​

    The owners even designed a special room suspended from the building's tall ceiling with mirrored glass that could observe the entire gambling area without the patrons suspecting anything. Vegas learned a lot from Toledo!

    ​In a routine raid on the Buckeye Social Club on April Fool's Day in 1944, owner, Benny Aronoff's real financial records, which included all sources of income that he was involved in were seized. Before the financial records were returned they were all copied. Prosecutor Joel Rhinefort, estimated that Club Devon alone had profits ranging from $4,000 to over $11,000 a day. Simple math indicates that for the short time the Club Devon was open, April 25, 1941, to the end of February 1944, it had profits of between $5.7 to $15.4 million. Translated into today's money that roughly $104 to $277 million.​

    Continue on Benore to Detroit Avenue.

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Unholy Toledo Tour: Gambling and Gangsters in the Glass City