Leo's Casino

Description

In 1963, business partners Leo Frank and Jules Berger opened Leo's Casino in the lounge of the old Quad Hall Hotel at 7500 Euclid Avenue. The club could host 700 people and regularly booked the top jazz and R&B acts of its era. The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, John Coltrane, Ray Charles and The Temptations all performed at Leo's Casino, as did comedians Richard Pryor and Flip Wilson. Otis Redding played his final concert there on December 9, 1967, dying in a plane crash in Wisconsin the following afternoon.

Co-owner Leo Frank opened his first club - Leo's - in 1952 at East 49th Street and Central Avenue. Leo's attracted the nation's leading jazz and R&B acts, but burned down in 1962, leading to the opening of Leo's Casino the following year. The new club, which quickly established itself as a key stop for touring Motown artists, was one of the most racially integrated nightlife spots in Cleveland. In July 1966 The Supremes played to a packed house of blacks and whites at Leo's not long after the Hough Riots broke out mere blocks away from the club.

Eventually, bigger venues offering bigger paydays began to lure the most popular performers away from Leo's Casino. Continued population decline and disinvestment in Cleveland's east side after the Hough Riots further hurt the club's fortunes. Leo's Casino closed in 1972 and was later torn down. In 1999, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame named it a historic landmark, placing a plaque on the site where Leo's Casino once stood.

Audio Show

Big Acts At Leo's Casino

Larry Rivers remembers Leo's Casino as a place for top acts

The Four Tops At Leo's Casino

Bennie Jean Johnson remembers seeing the Four Tops at Leo's Casino

Living Near Leo's Casino

Bennie Jean Johnson describes the location and the atmosphere of Leo's Casino

Cleveland's Integrated Music Scene

John Grabowski provides a historical overview of Leo's Casino

Photos Show

Gladys Knight & The Pips

An ad for Gladys Night & The Pips at Leo's Casino

Image courtesy of Cleveland SGS

John Coltrane Concert, 1962

Newspaper advertisement for John Coltrane at Leo's Casino in Cleveland Call & Post, 1962

Image courtesy of Cleveland SGS

Nina Simone, 1968

1968 ad for Nina Simone at Leo's Casino in The Cleveland Press Showtime Magazine

Image courtesy of Cleveland SGS

Ray Charles, 1966

1966 newspaper ad for Ray Charles at Leo's Casino.

Image courtesy of Cleveland SGS

1967 Jazz Festival

Promo for the 1967 Spring Jazz Festival at Leo's Casino

Image courtesy of Cleveland SGS

Lounge At Quad Hall Hotel, ca. 1920

In 1963, Quad Hall, a hotel and men's club at the corner of Euclid Avenue and East 75th Street, became the home of Leo's Casino.

Image courtesy of Cleveland State Library Special Collections

Quad Hall Hotel Postcard

The back of this postcard reads: "Quad Hall guest room, club residence for men, 7500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio." Leo Frank and Jules Berger purchased the Quad Hall Hotel in 1963 and opened Leo's Casino.

Image courtesy of Cleveland State Library Special Collections

Cite this Page

“Leo's Casino,” Cleveland Historical, accessed September 21, 2014, http:/​/​clevelandhistorical.​org/​items/​show/​5.​
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