• LOCATION 8 | Unholy Toledo Tour: Gambling and Gangsters in the Glass City

    Jefferson Avenue | From St. Clair to 13th Street

    Jefferson Avenue | From St. Clair to 13th Street on Toledo, Ohio audio tour Unholy Toledo Tour: Gambling and Gangsters in the Glass City

    Pull over in front of the red facade of 513 Jefferson on your left, the home of Downtown Johnny's. It's right next to the Commadore Perry.

    Remember how we mentioned St. Clair used to continue on through the United Way property to Cherry Street? Well, until they built the Huntington Center, Superior used to intersect with Jefferson here and there were a number of gambling clubs located in the block now occupied by the Huntington Center.

    As you admire the Huntington Center, here are a few highlights of what used to be here from Terry Shaffer's book:

    The Buckeye Social Club (aka: Buckeye Cigar Store); 229 Superior (from 1933-1936) then 224 Superior (1936-1939). The Buckeye was Toledo's number one horse racing betting parlor. Toledo's numbers game was also run out of here. This place was right out of the movie, The Sting. You walked in and it was a harmless cigar store with a clerk behind a counter. However, if you were in the know, you were offered entrance behind a curtain where you walked into a large betting parlor complete with tote boards, craps and blackjack.

    The Hollywood Club; 227 Superior (then 6115 Telegraph) The Hollywood Club started as a nightclub downtown but saw its best days out off Alexis Road.

    The 513½ Club (aka: Courtesy Club); On the left is 513 Jefferson Avenue, now Downtown Johnny’s. This club was operated by Harry Levine, a trusted lieutenant for Jimmy Hayes, it opened in 1929 and closed in 1935. Craps, poker, faro and blackjack were the games of choice here. How about this...no chips were used here, only silver coins. Isn't it cool to think Jimmy Hayes had his hand in the Jovial Club on St. Clair where you could bet a quarter and the 513½ Club where you only used silver coins?

    While we're here, take note of the Commodore Perry, on the corner of Superior and Jefferson, it will figure into our story a little later.

    Now let's continue on Jefferson for a few blocks and turn right on 13th Street. Pull over and take in the beauty of the old Central Post Office on your left.

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Unholy Toledo Tour: Gambling and Gangsters in the Glass City