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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

HARVARD CLUB - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

The HARVARD CLUB (1930-41) was one of the largest gambling operations between New York and Chicago during the 1930s. The movable gambling casino, located at various addresses on Harvard Ave. in NEWBURGH HEIGHTS, accommodated 500-1,000 gamblers a night from all over the country who came to shoot craps and to play the slot machines, roulette, and all-night poker. Originally operated by Wm. Fergus and later by Frank Joiner, the club, then located at 3111 Harvard Ave., was taken over in 1933 by Jas. "Shimmy" Patton, Arthur Hebebrand, and Daniel T. Gallagher. Although a celebrated raid, led by Safety Director ELIOT NESS†, closed the Harvard club 10 Jan. 1936, it reopened at 4209 Harvard Ave. the next month with expanded gambling facilities and a fleet of limousines for free customer pickup from downtown Cleveland. The club continued operation in spite of scandals, police raids, grand jury investigations, and ownership changes until 1941 when Judge FRANK J. LAUSCHE† ordered it closed. The judge's order was defied until Lausche constituted Det. Capt. Michael Blackwell an officer of the court, a position which allowed him and his squad of Cleveland police to finally close the club in April.

Last Modified: 17 Jul 1997 02:06:45 PM

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