"Unholy Toledo" tour gives inside look at city's violent and seedy criminal past

Jack Kennedy (Source: Toledo History Museum)
Jack Kennedy (Source: Toledo History Museum)
Yonnie Licavoli (Source: Toledo History Museum)
Yonnie Licavoli (Source: Toledo History Museum)
Jack Kennedy's girlfriend Louise Bell (Source: Toledo History Museum)
Jack Kennedy's girlfriend Louise Bell (Source: Toledo History Museum)
Tour-goers enjoy hearing stories of Toledo's seedy past (Source: Toledo History Museum)
Tour-goers enjoy hearing stories of Toledo's seedy past (Source: Toledo History Museum)

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - The secret is out on one of Toledo's most popular Daytrippin' adventures, a history lesson into the city's violent, seedy criminal past.

We're talking about the Unholy Toledo Tour.

Toledo streets were covered with blood during the prohibition era.

The two hour bus tours sponsored by the Toledo History Museum literally takes you to the scenes of eighteen infamous crimes accompanied by a guide and historic DVD footage.

Tours began in September and every one has sold out.

Toledoans love hearing about the hits and the shootouts.

"They respect Toledo and what was going on in Toledo. But they don't always know the whole story," said Ted Long of the Toledo History Museum.

Jack Kennedy is a big part of the story.

"Jack Kennedy was a young bootlegger and saloon owner who refused to give into the Licovolis," said Mr. Long.

That would be Yonnie Licavoli, a Detroit bootlegger who tried to move into Kennedy's territory in Toledo.

Their feud escalated one night at the corner of Jackson and Superior in December, 1932.

A hit was put on Kennedy.

He survived but his girlfriend was shot and killed.

Toledo's bootlegging code had been broken.

"There was always a lot of small time gangsters and a couple of big time players. They all got along. Worked together to keep under the radar," said Mr. Long.

Six months later, at the corner of Michigan and Monroe Kennedy got his revenge.

He jumped out of a car and broke the jaw of his girlfriend's killer.

"He kind of stood up for himself. He was always someone people viewed as a man's man. Just a unique story," said Mr. Long.

Jack Kennedy's story and life ended in Point Place in July, 1933 at the corner of Edgewater and 140th Street.

He was gunned down outside a store by a member of the Licovoli gang.

"You had to choose whether you would be with him (Licovoli) or against him. Kennedy chose not to go with them and paid the price," said Mr. Long.

The Unholy Toledo Tour also takes you to long-gone sites of gangster saloons and gambling parlors.

Tours resume in April but private tours can be booked anytime.

Click here for more information on the tours.

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