Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Cicco's Tavern Part 3

In yesterday's post, I told how Cicco's Tavern had been purchased by a Lorain policeman in October 1956, and was being remodeled in June 1957.

Unfortunately, like so many well-known entertainment landmarks in Northeast Ohio, the former Cicco's Edgewater Tavern met a fiery demise. The Sandusky Register of Wednesday, December 30, 1958 told the sad story (below).

Fire Lowers Former Cicco Dining Spot

The former Cicco's Tavern on Routes 2 and 6 near Vermilion, being remodeled for residential use by its new owner, John Kochan, Lorain, was destroyed by a Tuesday night fire despite efforts of volunteer firemen from Vermilion, Huron and Berlin Heights.

The former summer restaurant, known as Cicco's, and widely known for its spaghetti and fish dinners, was operated by Louis Cicco as late as two years ago.

The building was unoccupied but plumbers had been making repairs to the heating system Tuesday with the hope that Edgar Maners, a Ford Co. employee, who brought his family from Memphis recently, could move into their new home.

The Maners family was due to occupy the quarters today.

Meanwhile Maners had stored such possessions as clothing, appliances, sewing machine and TV in the building. All were lost.

Even the report cards and school transfer slips for the two Maners children, William, 13 and Lois, 12, were destroyed. The children were to have enrolled in Vermilion school as seventh and sixth graders next Monday.

The family is temporarily living with the Yarborough family near Vermilion.

Fire Chief Carl Blaser and his Vermilion volunteer firemen answered the alarm at approximately 9:15 p.m. when Mrs. Laura Yarborough, living nearby, noticed smoke. Firemen responded with two trucks and then Berlin Heights and Huron firemen were called. Three pieces of equipment from Berlin Heights answered the alarm.

Other residents of the neighborhood reported smoke odor but said they were unable to trace the source until flames burst out of the building.

Firemen were hampered by lack of water and another call sent to Berlin Heights for its tanker. A gas well located near the building also presented a hazard to firemen.

A large crowd watched the flames engulf the building while firemen concentrated efforts on holding the spread of fire to other buildings.

Only the chimney and fireplace remain standing today.

The Lorain Journal covered the fire that destroyed Cicco’s Tavern as well.

Here’s the story (below) as it appeared on the paper’s front page on Wednesday, December 31, 1958. The article also includes some history of the Shore Inn, predecessor to Cicco’s Tavern.


3 Fire Squads Battle Blaze 
At Cicco’s Tavern, Vermilion

VERMILION – Three fire departments last night battled for almost six hours in an attempt to halt a stubborn blaze that destroyed Cicco’s Tavern, about two-and-a-half miles west of Vermilion on Rts. 2 and 6.

Firemen from Vermilion, Huron and Berlin Heights fought the flames, which were visible a mile away, from shortly after 9 p.m. to 3 a.m.

Lorain Patrolman John F. Kochan bought the tavern for an estimated $40,000 in October, 1956, from Lewis Cicco of Risden Rd. who had operated it for 20 years, but had not opened it since that time.

An employee of the Ford Motor Co.’s Lorain Assembly Plant, his wife and their three children lost all their clothing and household goods in the fire.

The Ford worker, Edgar Maners, had just brought his family here from Memphis, Tenn., to occupy former living quarters in the building. He had moved in his goods, but Kochan had not permitted the family to occupy it.

Kochan was dissatisfied with the way the heating system was operating, according to Maners.

Vermilion Fire Chief Carl Blaser said it was “too late” to do anything when the department arrived on the scene. Cause of the fire was undetermined at mid-morning and Kochan could not be reached to learn whether the loss was covered by insurance. Blaser said he could not estimate the loss until he talked to Kochan.

Mrs. John Yarborough, who lives in the former Cicco home, saw the smoke and called the fire department at about 9:15 p.m. Vermilion pumpers made two trips into town for more water since the nearby fire hydrant was not working properly.

Mrs. Cicco said today that her husband had operated the tavern for 20 years and that for seven years before that it was unoccupied. Prior to that, “Greebe and Gorman” of Cleveland operated the Shore Inn there, famous for its spaghetti, Mrs. Cicco said.

Kochan paid about $40,000 for the building, according to records in the Erie County Recorder’s Office.

In April 1957, Kochan obtained a building permit in Erie County courthouse for an estimated $4,000 in improvements to the building and reportedly planned to open it as a restaurant and a bar.

Kochan, who joined the Lorain police department on Oct. 1, 1945, lives at 3565 Toledo Ave.

The Maners family would have moved in today if the heating system had proved satisfactory. In the meantime the family was located in another nearby building.

The personal belongings lost by the Maners family included all their clothing, except for what they were wearing, a sewing machine, television set, cedar chest full of summer clothes, rotisserie, mattress, roll-away bed and other goods.

The Maners family consists of Maners; his wife, Marjorie; William, 13; Lois, 12; and Teresa, 2. The report cards and school transcripts of the two school-age children were also lost.

Next: Fire photos

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