Long before Lucca’s Restaurant opened its doors in Madera, there was another Madera business that was also named after that well-known Italian province. The Lucca House, a hotel on the corner of what is now Gateway Drive and 6th Street, predated Lucca’s Restaurant by 35 years.
In the daytime, the Lucca House, which was operated by Luigi Simi, looked peaceful enough, but at night, the place sometimes turned into a veritable war zone.
We have noted in an earlier story how, in 1902, there was a shootout between the owner of the hotel and several inebriated Madera revelers. Bullets flew in every direction as Simi and his wife exchanged fire with a raucous mob that was intent on causing trouble in front of their hostel. Fortunately, no one was hit, and the fracas was settled in Madera’s justice court.
Not one person, however, who lived in Madera at the turn of the 20th century was under any illusions about how long peace would prevail at the local hotel. It became a regular Saturday night hot spot for law enforcement, and two years after the fireworks of 1902, there was another donnybrook at the Lucca House...