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Legends of Ohio: Club Bijou

Haunted Toledo’s Legends of Ohio! This episode takes you inside the legendary Club Bijou (a.k.a., the Asylum and Citi Theater)! In its heyday, it was one of Toledo’s most popular nightclubs. It was also – allegedly – one of Toledo’s most haunted!

Haunted Toledo’s Christopher Tillman was invited to the club in May of 1999 to document the claims of employees who believed something otherworldly was lurking throughout the building. Many stories were told, hundreds of photos taken, and a 28-minute video tour of the building was conducted.

Fast-forward 18 years… A former employee of the club was contacted and asked to help us tell the story of Club Bijou’s haunted history.

The building no longer exists. All that remains are some photos, video, many memories, and the extraordinary stories of its former employees!

Join us on a 10-minute, 40-second trip back through time to one of Toledo’s hottest and most haunted clubs!

Watch the video for more on the story of Club Bijou.

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3 thoughts on “Legends of Ohio: Club Bijou

  1. The building was much older than 1941. It had been the old 1900 Lasalle & Koch Department store and was 6 storeys tall. It was replaced in 1917 by the new store that is now Lasalle Apartments. There were arched windows filled in with brick on the South wall outside that had been a feature of the department store. There are pictures of this building on Wikipedia mixed in with pictures of the 1917 store. After Lasalles moved the building housed a number of businesses including a large pool hall, a likely place to have disputes over bets. Bowling alleys were also a feature of the reused building. Those businesses and tobacco shop were patronized by men as it was not considered a polite place for women. The old building was torn down by hand to the second floor level with the bricks and other materials sold for reuse. The Esquire Theatre was built inside the 1900 walls that remained. The Esquire cashed in on the 1940’s glamour of the Chicago Esquire. To keep costs down there was little steel in the theatre conversion and the concrete columns in the cellar were part of this. After Urban Renewal took the Town Hall Burlesque Theater Rose LaRose, the retired burlesque star moved her burlesque shows here. She continued having a small band and drummer accompany the shows although by 1970 live comedians had long ceased to be part of the show. There was a steel cage on the right side by the front of the stage for the musicians to protect them if any unruly audience members threw a bottle at them. Even the drummer ceased to have a job at the after the trumpeter was let go earlier. It was a respectable traditional burlesque show with a lot more tease than strip and played to the limit of what the police allowed. She had been a secretary at Minsky’s Burlesque in New York City when a dancer quit and she started her career as a performer. She passed away in 1972. Changing times and Larry Flynts Hustler Club nude dancers a few blocks away were the new thing which replaced the Esquire. Then came the night club years. After it was sold to the County the former owner was the victim of an armed robbery by criminals who thought he had the proceeds from the sale in cash at his home. A lot more history happened here…………

    1. A lot of great historic info! Thank you! There’s a book available about Rose LaRose I saw for sale at the Toledo Police Museum. The author’s name escapes me at the moment. He gave a lecture there on her back when the book came out that was really informative.

    2. I worked there in 1976 as a projection operator , Tom Merkle was my boss and he was Rose Le Rose right hand man back in the day.It was said to be haunted . Tom who acted quite strange at times was a walking encyclopedia, a genius !

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