Thursday, April 4, 2013

Meyer Lansky buys Colonial Inn from Lou Walters - 1945

By Jane Feehan
Colonial Inn, circa 1946.  Courtesy of Broward County Historical Commission

The purchase of the Colonial Inn* in Hallandale for $80,000 topped the week’s real estate transactions reported by the Fort Lauderdale Daily News, June 9, 1945.

Meyer Lansky (1902-1983), an organized crime figure, bought the property from Louis E. “Lou” Walters.  The Colonial Inn, near Gulfstream Park, was closed from 1941 until Walters opened it December 22, 1944. The inn operated for five days. Walters, father of today’s TV personality Barbara Walters, was a night club “impresario,” with clubs and shows in Las Vegas and New York City (He died in 1977.) After closing the Colonial Inn, Walters took his night club show to the Cabaret Restaurant in Miami Beach. He was the original operator of the Latin Quarter on Palm Island in Miami Beach and the famed Latin Quarter in New York City.

Lansky was also known for “dabbling” in the nightclub biz. The Fort Lauderdale Daily News noted his affiliations with nightclubs in Broward County and reported “future plans for operating the Inn await Lansky’s return from New York City.”

Those future plans were probably known to many. Lansky, long affiliated with mobsters Bugsy Siegel and Lucky Luciano, was expanding his gambling operations in Florida and Las Vegas, and later to Cuba.  He opened the Colonial Inn December 1945. The Inn became a profitable, posh East Coast gambling establishment. It was closed by the government in 1948. For more on the demise of the club, and Meyer Lansky, search labels at right.

* Not to be confused with the Colonial Inn on Motel Row.
For more on the Colonial Inn, see:

Just out (2014) from Sandra Lansky, daughter of Meyer Lansky

Copyright © 2012. All rights reserved. Jane Feehan.

Tags: Broward County history, Meyer Lansky, Colonial Inn in Hallandale, South Florida gambling history, Broward County in the 1940s, Lou Walters , Florida mob history,  historical researcher
film researcher

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