Rosie's Place: Memories alive

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.
Alex Green
Feb 12, 2014

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.”

Comments

kURTje

Hell Rosie's was legend several counties away.

Gardenman

I grew up in Port Clinton. As a student at PC High School we all knew about Rosie's and the house on Buckeye Blvd. We always thought if the walls of that white house could speak. One of the past times as a kid was to go to the gas station / car repair place across the street and watch who was coming and going at Rosie's. I telling you it was the big political names with city, county and even state leaders coming and going. Many the political leader was paid off.

We always heard that Rosies closed not because of prostitution but rather Rosie did not pay the Feds the taxes and that was what did her in.

Now as an adult I hear in Erie County the place is out there on 101 and the Dancing Tea Lady etc. ????

4-wheeler al

I was a customer. She gave a lot of money back too the p.c. area. She was a nice lady. her daughter should have listen too her mother wouldn't got in all that jail time

Gardenman

I heard that too. Many the local charity in Port Clinton or Ottawa County that she gave help too in a nameles manner. Many the family or child who needed $$$ to help fight a major illness, a tragedy, etc and it was Rosie who left money on the table to help them.

Truth2u

I heard the rumors but questioned their truthfulness.

Where was it located and is it still standing?

I'm going to try to get over to buy the book.

Back in the early 60's my parents took me on weekends to a place in Whites Landing where those coral rock homes are. (I think its Whites Landing) Any way, there was a place off the road by the bay where it was like a swamp, they sold beer and gambled, but I never witnessed any prostitution taking place. Seemed to be a private type club. Drove by there a few years back and its gated off.

My father also told me that Whites Landing was one of the hubs were Canadian Whiskey came over by boat during the dry spell.

Unassumer

Ottawa County still has its corruption although maybe not book-worthy. It's not always the good people that prevail-it's those with connections.

Babo

Got to meet and talk with Rosie just before her death. She was a very interesting lady and had a great business mind. According to local legend she basically funded Immaculate Conception's school.

She opined that Ottawa County was better off when she was running things rather than the corrupt LEO's and attorneys that took her down and then took over her rackets which continue to this day.

Anybody remember her second place "The Clock" on 51 outside Genoa?

Truth2u

@ Babo
Thats the name I was trying to think of, The Clock, which I could never get an answer to its name.

I also heard there was activity at a building on Market or Water street called the Green House.??? Had friends who knew all about these places but honestly I thought at the time they were making up all their stories just to brag.

samiam

Was it the Green House or the Green Door?

I too remember hearing whispered stories about Rosie's when we would go to PC to visit cousins when we were kids.

LabMan

Green Door on Water St. Mid 60's I delivered newspapers there and had to put it in a mail slot in the door. I never seen anyone around, never collected from them. I heard the stories as well. Article in the paper recently said a couple just bought the building.

Babo

@Truth2u

Yes I think Rosie's daughter ran the Clock, and there was another place out on Route 2 near Camp Perry called the Spot besides the house on Buckeye in Port Clinton.

Another poster mentioned that the place you're thinking about in Sandusky was called the Green Door and is now owned by a couple doing business as Green Door media. I don't know if the old Green Door was also a Rosie run operation.

Interesting how large the sex industry used to be in Ottawa and Erie Counties and how the LEO's and prosecutors turned a blind eye to it in exchange for the paper bags full of cash. A defense attorney told me that the Feds would bust up the LEO protected rackets in Ottawa and Erie counties about every 30 years (1940's; 1970's) and that the counties were due in the early 2000's.

Ralph J.

I had no idea that three sheriffs were indicted. http://goo.gl/360Zv1 One was a sheriff from 1941 - 1948.

Truth2u

@ Ralph J.
That link was very interesting. Had to chuckle at the article on the bottom left "love Conquers Prison Walls" where a wife broke INTO prison to see her husband, LOL!

Its also interesting to note this was Tuesday, May 5, 1970, the day after the Kent State shooting.

I really tried to get over there to this book signing but wasn't able, I would have enjoyed speaking with this man.

Babo

Yes, thanks for these stories. It's funny how there were state and fed cases at the same time but that none of the johns were ever named and Rosie's state case was dismissed when she raised the issue of selective prosecution. Also, the names of the lawyers and prosecutors (state and fed)involved in the cases are interesting as most and one in particular moved on to be real players. Guess that was what Rosie meant when she said outsiders were running things in the county.

So now with the conviction of former Sheriff Bratton, Ottawa County has a history of 4 sheriffs convicted of public corruption related crimes. What is that an overall rate of about 50% of sheriffs are corrupt in OC?

tonto

My father was very young when he worked at Louie wolf's. He said Rosie came in there a lot to buy top dollar meats for her ladies. She had doctors come out to check in on the ladies. My dad was to young to be with the ladies so she let him play pinball and drink coke all day.

Ralph J.

The Port Clinton police should have known about Rosie's. I recall a nearby house that had a sign in front that said This Is Not Rosies.

kURTje

Small towns in Ohio have many real stories don't they? How about The Victory Inn/Willard, Ohio? Right next to the cop shop. True stuff or tales? Then there was the restaurant in Monroeville, Ohio. Ohio Magazine did an article on Frank Rinello in the April 1987 issue. Ahh small towns & their secrets........