(Gregory Witul • AM-POL Eagle) Many of the taverns and gin mills that dotted Buffalo’s East Side have histories that started with returning soldiers of the Second World War or the bootleggers of Prohibition or even the Pan-American in 1901, but few of them date back to the 19th century. This week we will take a look at a pen from Club 77 on Woltz Avenue and the rough and tumble early history of this hotel and drinking establishment.

In the early morning of Dec. 10, 1896, a fire ripped through M. Savills’ grocery store at 77 Woltz Ave. A fire crew quickly arrived and the total loss for the proprietor was only $250. The owner of the one-and-a-half story building, Mary Luczak calculated her damages at $150.

After the fire, Savills began looking for another location and moved on. Luczak rehabbed her building to serve as a hotel, with apartments for permanent guests and a down stairs tavern with a hall in the back. In 1898, Mary Cobeak applied for and received a license to serve liquor on the premises.

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