Leo’s Casino

Leo’s first opened in 1952 at East 49th Street and Central Avenue, and was owned by Leo Frank. It operated as a bar, but later expanded to a jazz room. In 1962, Leo’s burned down, and in 1963, Frank opened Leo’s Casino at 7500 Euclid Avenue. The club was known for having racially mixed audiences despite high tensions in Cleveland in the 1960s and was a major stop on the Motown circuit. In 1970, Frank sold his share of the club to his business partner, Jules Berger, who operated the club until it closed permanently in 1972. Leo’s Casino was designated as a historical landmark by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on June 24, 1999, two weeks before Leo Frank’s death. There were many locations in Cleveland with the name “Leo’s,” including at least one other club, though they do not appear to be related.

Advertisement | Call & Post, Feb. 17, 1962

Resources

  • “Leo’s Casino.” Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. https://case.edu/ech/articles/l/leos-casino.
  • Williams, Bob, and Allen Howard. “Yule Eve Fire Razes Leo Casino, Abbott’s: 20 Persons Routed by $75,000 Blaze.” Call & Post. December 29, 1962.
E 49th St and Central Ave

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