• LOCATION 2 | Unholy Toledo Tour: Gambling and Gangsters in the Glass City

    Valentine Theatre and Show Boat Lounge | 418 Superior Street

    Valentine Theatre and Show Boat Lounge | 418 Superior Street on Toledo, Ohio audio tour Unholy Toledo Tour: Gambling and Gangsters in the Glass City

    Pull over on the other side of Adams in front of the Valentine Theatre on your right.

    The historic Valentine Theatre was built in 1895. During the roaring twenties, this building was home to secret prohibition speakeasies and gambling rooms. Evidence of false doors in the basement have filtered down through the generations.

    Before the Valentine was renovated in the 1990's, what we see now from Superior would have been the back of the theatre, the image you see above shows the original entrance on St. Clair. From where we sit today, in the 20's and 30's there would have been an alley and a few buildings along Superior Street blocking our view of the back of the theatre. One of those buildings was the Show Boat Lounge at 418 Superior Street, owned and operated by Chet Marks until it was acquired by Licavoli in a hostile takeover. After Marks refused offers to take on the Licavoli gang as a new partner, he was shot and killed in his Old Orchard home. Licavoli needed a new place after his operation in Point Place failed due to too many police raids. More about that later.

    Sadly, Marks death and the hostile takeover of the Show Boat Lounge did nothing for Licavoli's nightclub and gambling interests since Toledo police raided the Show Boat nightly after he muscled his way in. Licavoli finally caught on and moved his operations outside of the city limits by taking over the Hill Avenue Gardens at Hill and Wenz Roads and the police raids subsided.

    Move up just a few feet and pull in front of Georgio's Cafe International for our next stop.

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Unholy Toledo Tour: Gambling and Gangsters in the Glass City