Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The 400 Bridge Club

Mutt & Jeff's at 3700 Oberlin Avenue (photo May 2012)
Last September I posted an article by well-known Lorain Journal writer Hank Kozloski about Penny Morgan's Place – the present location of my favorite Saturday night hangout, Mutt & Jeff's. It was surprising to find out that a place that I thought (back here) was originally just a cozy, old-time tourist home was actually one of two well-known local brothels operated by Penny Morgan from 1937 to 1938 (the other was on Elyria Avenue).

While reading old newspaper accounts about the scandal, I noted that there were references to another business at that 3700 Oberlin Avenue location that predated Penny Morgan's Place – namely the 400 Bridge Club.
March 19, 1934 newspaper ad
April 7, 1934 newspaper ad
And just like Penny Morgan's Place, the 400 Bridge Club even had a scandal of its own: a murder.

It happened in early September 1934. Florence Lee, a divorcee and co-owner of the club, had been attempting to keep her partner, Michael Carreo, from driving home as she believed he was drunk. She took his keys and, for her trouble, received a beating from him, including a punch in the face.

He drove off with Joseph Yankowsky, the manager of the nightclub, who lived nearby. Furious, Miss Lee arrived at Yankowsky's residence shortly thereafter and shot Carreo several times with a .38 automatic pistol.

Then she drove directly to Lorain police headquarters and gave herself up. Carreo died later that day.

When told that her partner was dead, she was quoted as saying, "Why did I do it? Oh, why did I do it? Forgive me, Mike. I must have been crazy, Mike."

It was revealed that Carreo was Miss Lee's common-law husband.

Miss Lee went on trial in late October 1934. After a week-long trial, she was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to a term of from one to 20 years at hard labor in Marysville prison. During the sentencing, the judge told her, "Your place had a very bad reputation, with drinking, dancing girls and gambling."

No wonder it was one of Lorain County's most popular night clubs at the time!


Loraine Ritchey said...

Boy if those walls COULD talk

-Alan D Hopewell said...

DAN-What was the Elyria Avenue address for Penny Morgan's?

Dan Brady said...

Hi Alan,

The newspaper coverage of the sheriff's bribery scandal gives a lot of details about the operations on Oberlin Avenue (how much they charged, how much one night's take was, etc.) but unfortunately the address of the Elyria avenue brothel wasn't listed. I'll dig some more and see if I can come up with one.