Tour Locations | Unholy Toledo Tour: Gambling and Gangsters in the Glass City
The Studio Club | 513 St. Clair
Pull over next to the boulevard at St. Clair.
As you look out to your left at the green space east of the United Way Building, keep in mind that St. Clair used to continue past Jackson through this lot and connect with Cherry Street. Jack Kennedy's club was located on St. Clair between Jackson and Orange Streets.
Jack Kennedy grew up in the 1920's, an era marked by flappers, bootleggers, and official corruption. His family was in the tavern business for years. After dropping out of Central Catholic High, marrying, fathering a child and divorcing before he was twenty years old, he moved into the family business. With help from his uncle Charley "Joker" Kennedy, the Kennedy family's Soldiers and Sailors Club was remodeled and reopened as the Studio Club—a plush spot that catered to Toledo's social elite. Jack quickly turned the Studio Club into the place to wind up the evening and he also developed his own clever bootlegging operation to bolster his business.
According to Ken Dickson's book, Something for Nothing, whenever a rogue gangster or police would enter Jack's place without an invitation, the band would play Louis Armstrong's hit, I'll Be Glad When You're Dead, You Rascal You to alert Jack and the bouncers to the possibility of trouble. The club had a 50-foot bar with a wait staff and bartenders to handle the crowds. Jack's private office, off the main floor of the club, was decorated with red damask wall hangings. Hidden behind one of the red drapes was the entrance to his private bedroom - its main feature was a handmade sleigh bed.
Just a young man in his early twenties, Jack was admired by many. He ran the hottest club in town, he drove the nicest cars, his dashing good looks attracted the ladies, he was well-known for helping those in need, and he didn't take orders from anyone but himself. Jack Kennedy was living large. More on Jack later.
On the other side of Orange Street were two other clubs…
The Crescent Club; 627 North St. Clair Street. Owned by Yonnie Licavoli and run by Abe Siegel. Opened in 1932.
The Jovial Club; 631 North St. Clair Street. Owned by Jimmy Hayes and managed by Ed Warnke, Harry Levine and Pat and Joe Morrissey, the Jovial Club was known throughout Toledo as the poor man's gambling joint, where even a quarter could be wagered.
Okay, let’s turn right here on St. Clair, we're going to pull over just before Madison for an introduction to Jimmy Hayes.