Prosperity Social Club to Host Launch of Local Author’s New Book Featuring Photos of ‘Lost Cleveland’

Organized chronologically, Lost Cleveland, a new coffee table book featuring photos of old Cleveland institutions that are no longer with us, includes photos from places such as Leo’s Casino, the Hippodrome, Hough Bakery, Cleveland Municipal Stadium and Memphis Drive-In.

Plain Dealer reporter Laura DeMarco did the painstaking research and wrote the copy that accompanies the vintage photos.

DeMarco will appear at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16, at Prosperity Social Club to talk about the “iconic architecture, legendary events, and fascinating true tales behind a city that was one of the largest and most prosperous in America,” as it’s put in a press release announcing her appearance.

With 65 entries and more than 200 photos, the 144-page hardcover book features more than 200 photos.

"As a lifelong, third-generation Clevelander, I grew up listening to my grandmother and parents reminiscing about the Cleveland they knew—shopping on Euclid Avenue and seeing shows at the Hippodrome, about Dean Martin and mobsters hanging out at the Hollenden Hotel, about going to Euclid Beach Park and League Park and the old Stadium,” says DeMarco, in the press release. “I wanted to learn more about the storied, glamorous and gritty history of my city. Turns out, I learned more than I could have ever hoped and now I am happy to be a storyteller helping to keep that history alive."

Opened in 1938 by Polish-born Stanley Dembowski (as Dempsey’s Oasis), Prosperity Social Club embraces its local history with its Cleveland-centric breweriana décor and Eastern European-inspired comfort food.

“When I heard about Lost Cleveland, I immediately asked Laura if she would consider a party at Prosperity Social Club,” says owner Bonnie Flinner. “Laura and I agreed that it would be fun to trigger Clevelanders’ sensory memories with legacy foods like mimosas made with orange sherbet, a sweet treat that debuted at the Great Lakes Exposition, or Humphrey Popcorn balls, a Euclid Beach Park staple.”

For the launch party, Prosperity will feature a special menu that includes the following: Alpine Village bratwurst on toasted bun with “Cleveland Kraut” served with fresh, house-made chips and homemade Lawson's-style French onion dip; an Ethnic Platter with a sampling of cabbage and noodles with kielbasa, a potato cake, a potato pierogi; and a Hungarian stuffed cabbage roll, and kielbasa with cabbage and noodles.

Accordionist Stan Mejac will play classic polka favorites on his squeezebox from 1 to 4 p.m.

“From the grand theater where horses dove off balconies to the arena that was the site of the first rock concert and riot, I am drawn to Cleveland’s colorful stories, and I think others will be too,” says DeMarco. “I hope people will come out and share their photos and memories with me.”

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Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected].
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