Manufacturer: Shenango China
User: Mounds Club – Cleveland, Ohio
Date of examples: circa 1920s – early 1950s
Notes: From the Cleveland Historical Society: "The Mounds Club was built in 1930 by Thomas 'Black Jack' McGinty (photo above), a second-generation Irish American who was then known as Cleveland's biggest sports and gambling promoter. McGinty was a former professional featherweight boxer and was also known to be an associate of the Cleveland Gang, an organized crime group that controlled gambling and other illegal enterprises in Cleveland in the decades of the 1930s and 1940s.
"Located on Chardon Road in Willoughby Hills, just across the Lake County line at the site of present-day La-Vera Party Center, the Mounds Club was conveniently placed just out of the reach of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County law enforcement officials. The Mounds Club did indeed offer its patrons opportunities to gamble and drink illegal liquor. It also, however, featured some of the best entertainment in the Cleveland area in that era. Well-known singers like Sophie Tucker, Helen Morgan and Lena Horne, and comedians like Joe E. Lewis, performed there. When the Club was attacked by masked robbers in 1947, comedian Peter Lind Hayes and his wife, singer Mary Healy, were actually on stage performing. The careers of a number of Hollywood singers and actresses began with stints at the Mounds Club.
"In the years 1930-1948, the Mounds Club had been the target of a number of raids by Lake County and State of Ohio law enforcement officials including Safety Director Eliot Ness. The Club nevertheless had always managed to stay in business and one step ahead of the law until Frank Lausche was elected to his second term as Ohio's Governor in 1948. In early 1949, Governor Lausche vowed to close the Mounds Club which he claimed had for too long flouted Ohio's gambling and liquor laws.
"In July 1949, Governor Lausche's state liquor law enforcement officials did just that, obtaining a court order to close down and padlock the Mounds Club. While owner Thomas 'Black Jack' McGinty appealed the order closing his club, he clearly saw the writing on the wall. He and his Cleveland Gang associates sold their interests in the Mounds Club in 1950, taking their money out of Ohio and investing it in a new and what they believed would be safer and even more lucrative enterprise – the new Desert Inn in Las Vegas, Nevada."
White body plate with a gold stripe and mint green pinstripe around the rim. At the top of the plate's rim is a very narrow stylized mint green letter "M." Around the verge is a simple green laurel design with a bow on the bottom rim. Finally, in the center well is a mint green and black drawing of a standing lion on a pedestal base looking right. According to records at the Cleveland Historical Society, this design was designated as Decoration 3506/3507, depending on the paperwork filed within the pattern books.
For additional info:
Mounds Club 2 by Mayer China
Cleveland Historical Society – history and photographs
Plate photos: Marybeth Ripley Johnson
Cube teapot photos: Sheri Harris
ID and matchbook photo: Ed Babcock
Author: Ed Phillips