|“Now usually, when you tell a story like [Newport’s], there are clichés which come to mind automatically. The town is called a “sin city,” and it has been “cleaned up” by “courageous reformers.” You’ve read hundreds of tales over the years, and in almost every story, you were reading about a few small-timers like Phenix City, Alabama, or, if someplace larger, you were reading fantasy. But Newport is another story. This was the big time.” Jimmy Breslin, writing in Saga, May, 1962.|
Glen Schmidt's, Newport
18 East Fifth Street
Glenn Schmidt's Menu
|The Yorkshire Club, 518 York Street. The Yorkshire Club's profit statement is here, originally published in the Kefauver Committee Report in 1951.|
Know about Campbell County Sheriff candidate George Ratterman being photographed with half clothed stripper named April Flowers?!? It's the single most defining moment in Newport history. Read the Kentucky Post's story, here.
|National Coverage of Newport included these:|
|A May, 1961 Time Magazine's article is here.||An earlier March, 1954 Time magazine article is here.||Esquire's story ran in May of 1957. It's here.|
|The Saturday Evening Post ran an expose on Newport on March 26, 1960. It's here.||A Louisville Courier Journal Story from July, 1939 is here.||Look Magazine Covered Newport on October 24, 1961. It's here.|
|Author Jimmy Breslin wrote this piece for Saga. (pdf)||The Ratterman story is reported to have run in one newspaper in Bangkok, Thailand.|
Gambler's at the Hy-Dee-Ho Club, December 15, 1951,
before they figured out there was a raid in progress.
An AP wire photo, from the Kentucky State Police
Latin Quarter Menu
The Latin Quarter
earlier, the Primrose Club
10 Licking Pike
In the 19th century, it was a slaughterhouse and meat packing plant.
A candy store across the street from the 9th street school had a penny slot machine.
The Feds raid Newport in 1956. The headline was bigger than the impact of the raid.
A list of addresses, c. 1959-1960.
|The great Miles Davis Group plays the Copa
From a Facebook post by William Soudrette
|Ella plays the Latin Quarter, July 28-August 3, 1946||Sam Cooke plays the Copa. January 29-31, 1960.|
Stepin Fetchit plays Newport's Galaxy Club
Sin City was a happening place after dark.
Artie Dennert's Club
|The Glen Rendezvous, where they tried to frame Ratterman.
From a Facebook post by Barbara Sparks Rawe
from a Facebook post by Newport's Sin City Years
|The Copa, 339 Central
from a Facebook post by Newport's Sin City Years
B. B. King plays the Copa.
at Third and York in Newport, Kentucky Offers the best
of a variety of fine foods at reasonable prices. Our appetizing
food is available 24 hours a day.
Additionally, the Gladiator has nightly entertainment from
9:00 pm until 3:00 am No minimum or over charge.
Meet your Friends at the Gladiator.
|The Alibi, 310 Central
In 1952 Screw Andrews acquired ownership
of the Alibi Club, an African-American gambling
venue. On January 13, 1952, a shoot-out here
between Melvin Clark, the remaining African-
American competitor to Andrews in the number
racket. Clark shot and killed Andrew's casino owner.
Andrews sensed an opportunity to move in on
Clark if Clark were convicted of murder, but, Newport
justice being what it was, Clark was convicted of
carrying a concealed weapon. 18 months probation.
from a Facebook post by Newport's Sin City Years
Buck Brady's Primrose Country Club
The Silver Slipper
Across Licking Pike from the Latin Quarter, c. 1946
From a Facebook post by Diane John Osterhage
The Merchants Club, 15th W.4th
Vivian Shields Schulte's House of
|An excerpt from an FBI Report, “Survey of Commercialized Prostitution Conditions,” from 1959-1960, is here.|
Before George Ratterman ran for Campbell Co Sheriff,
he was a quarterback at Notre Dame, and for the Cleveland Browns.
These are all wire photo's of Ratterman as Sheriff. Parking tickets may well have been retaliatory from certain police officers who found their income diminished when the gambling left town. What actions did Ratterman take to drive our corruption? None. No disrespect to the man (you had to brave to even run for the office as he did) but most - not all - of the mob saw the writing on the wall, and got out of town on their own. The people spoke; the mob knew the gig was up. Where'd they go? A little desert town in Nevada called Las Vegas.
|Buck Brady, cowering in an outhouse, arrested in connection with the shotgun blast of Albert Red Masterson. News coverage below, with the jury finding in the October 17 item.|
|August 6, 1946||August 7, 1946||August 8, 1946||August 9, 1946||October 17, 1946|
Jim Linduff, along with Roy Klein and Larry Trapp, have written When Vice Was King: A History of Northern Kentucky Gambling, with lots of great pictures of poker chips and dice used in the various clubs. The pdf of their work is here.
|Headquarters for the Committee of 500|
|You can read more about Seifried and the Committee of 500 in the Saturday Evening Post story, above.|
Aerial View with key to selected night spots, 1959
|The Closing of Cinema X,
March 11, 1982
|Newport figures who had earlier worked for
Remus include Buck Brady, Jimmy Brink,
and Glenn Schmidt
|AUGUST 29, 1946: Thomas Hardesly, left, and “Buck” Brady.
||FEBRUARY 29, 1952: When Club Operator Was Arrested. Pete Schmidt, without
hat, widely known Newport night club operator, is shown with
Detective Chief Leroy Fredericks shortly after Schmidt was arrested
last night for conducting a bingo game at the Glenn Schmidt
Playtorium, 18 e. Fifth St., Newport. Fewer than 50 players were
present when Chief Fredericks made the arrest.
||FEBRUARY 2, 1948: Club Owner At Police Headquarters. Pete Schmidt, owner of the
Glenn Rendezvous, Newport night club raided by Newport police
Saturday night, is shown at Newport police headquarters as he was
booked on a charge of setting up and operating a game of chance.
Sgt. William Livingston registers him.
|FROM A WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 22, 1965 ARTICLE: Buck Brady, 1920s Bootlegger, Is Dead: Ernest Alexander (Buck) Brady, 84, former Campbell County night club owner and widely known in Greater Cincinnati sporting circles before he moved to Florida a decade ago, died last Friday at Ft. Lauderdale of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Dr. R.K. Hauger, medical examiner for Broward County, Fla., said Tuesday, 9/21/65, that Mr. Brady died of a rifle bullet in his chest. The shooting took place in an alley outside his apartment at Lauderdale by the Sea. Mr. Brady had been concerned about his health, the corner was informed.|
|FROM AN AUGUST 23, 1957 ARTICLE: Uncle Sam, Says 'Pay Up,' To Local Club Owner - Claim Issued for 1929 Debt: The Federal government set out yesterday, 8/22/57, to attempt to collect a $6025 fine it says a Newport night club operator has owed since 1929, the Associated Press reports|
|These three images are copyrighted by the Cincinnati Enquirer, and are used here with their kind permission.|
US Troops destroy stills in Newport, Kentucky, Feb. 21, 1922
Hugh Hayne cartoon from the Louisville Courier-Journal, February 19, 1961
Highly recommended is “Sin City Revisited: A Case Study of the Official Sanctioning of Organized
Crime in an 'Open City'” from Eastern Kentucky University, a more scholarly treatment, here.
|If you have even the slightest interest in the history of Newport or the Beverly Hills fire, we urge you to get and read a copy of Robert Webster's book, The Beverly Hills Supper Club Fire: The Untold Story Behind Kentucky’s Worst Tragedy, along with contributors David Brock and Tom McConaughy. Webster's exhaustively researched work prefaces the story of the fire with an excellent account of the corruption in Newport that led to the fire. The book goes on the make a convincing case for the fire being the result of arson by the mob, and a cover up of that fact by Kentucky authorities. It's in most area book stores, or you can get it online above. Highly recommended.|
There are two novels that've been published by Cathie John about Newport in its infamy: Little Mexico, and its sequel, In The Name of The Father. Both are available in most bookstores, or from Amazon on the links at the sides. They're not War and Peace, but they're a good read. We recommend both. See the Cathie John web site, here.
|Newport crime figure Red Masterson hit with a shotgun in 1946; media blamed for problems in Newport.|
To be able to provide eye witness testimony to Newport conditions, Members of the Committee of 500 often went looking for evidence. A member walking into the 4th Street Grill, one block from the police station, ordered a sandwich, and was told “We don't sell food here; we sell girls.”
|You can read Sin City Kentucky: Newport, Kentucky's Vice Heritage and Its Legal Extinction, a masters level dissertation by Michael L. Williams, completed at the University of Louisville at the U of L's site, here. Before you hit just automatically hit the print key, note that it's 259 page pdf.|
|NKU's Steely Library Archives has some oral histories done with some of the notables involved in the clean up of Newport. You can see the list here. They say there are transcripts of the tapes you can read, but for some reason they didn't put them online for you. Hey, NKU, can we get those posted, please?|
|Rev. W. B. Harvey tries to get a disorderly house shut down, but he calls on the wrong folks to help.||Prohibition officer killed in 1929.|
|In 1926, Kentucky Governor Fields says he'd be happy to enforce the law in Newport . But only if they ask.|
|An article from 1906 (!): Newport Citizens Start
Crusade Against Vice is here.
|...and as early as 1838, the Temperance Society Fails. Here.|
The Iroquois Club, a.k.a. The Root Home
Front and Columbia
A 1910 investigation of gambling at the Iroquois found there was no gambling.
Boone County Recorder, March 7, 1906
“The city jailer of Newport, Ky., was arrested in a raid on a crap game and was locked up in his own jail.” Cleveland Gazette, May 18, 1907