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Rosie's Place: Memories alive

Alex Green • Feb 12, 2014 at 9:02 PM

Imagine Port Clinton in 1950.

In his newly published book, “An Immigrant Family History,” Casimir “Ki” Jadwisiak tells stories that make Ottawa County sound like a Bonnie and Clyde setting.

Prostitution, gambling and corruption ruled in the 1930s and onward, for about 30 years. The city was on the map mainly for one infamous reason: Rosie’s Place.

Jadwisiak said authorities turned a blind eye as prostitutes went about their business inside the infamous establishment, as well as other locations in the area.

When the feds got involved, they needed the wholesome Jadwisiak’s help.

Why did they choose him to go undercover?

“I asked them the same thing,” he said.

Want to go? 

What: Casimir ‘Ki’ Jadwisiak signing his book, “An Immigrant Family History”

Where: Ida Rupp Public Library, Port Clinton

When: 6 p.m. Thursday

More: Go to animmigrantfamilyhistory.com 

Federal agents told Jadwisiak a source recommended him. That said, he went door-to-door in Port Clinton and Danbury Township, posing as an insurance salesman as he sought any information.

“I couldn’t believe the things people would tell me,” he said.

He learned every detail of Rosie’s operation, including the establishment’s annual profits by examining its laundry services. The brothel’s existence was common knowledge around town, even to outsiders who’d come in for a night of fun.

But crooked public officials ruled Port Clinton back then, as did Rosie’s, Jadwisiak said.

An officer once told him: “If I raid her, then I have to raid every rooming house in Port Clinton.”

In 1970, a myriad of public officials were subpoenaed to federal court as a result of Jadwisiak’s findings. The result: Rosie’s was exiled from Ottawa County for good, and corrupt law enforcement went to prison.

The story is just one of many in Jadwisiak’s book.

”I tried to make (the book) about the family, not myself,” he said.

The book discusses his brother, Stanley Jadwisiak, who the Marblehead VFW Post is named after. Stanley was the first Danbury Township man to lose his life for his country. He died during World War II.

The Jadwisiak family received word of Stanley’s death from a Western Union telegram over 70 years ago. Jadwisiak can still recall the details of that devastating day.

”I remember the (taxi driver’s) calloused hands, opening that telegram,” he said.

Despite the devastating news, the family remained strong. Each of Stanley’s seven brothers served in the war and returned home safely. Jaswiskiak, for instance, served in Northern China during the latter part of the war. To this day, his support of his country remains unwavering.

”In my lifetime, we have fought eight wars,” he said at a 2011 veterans’ reunion on Kelleys Island. “In our country’s lifetime, we have liberated over 30 countries from tyranny.

”The number of World War II veterans is dwindling,” he said. “Soon it will be up to you, the younger generation, to continue this tradition.”

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