Despite its reputation as a fun spot, the Casino's original purpose was financial gain for the newly formed Exeter, Hampton and Amesbury Street Railway. In , the company built the original Hampton Beach Casino on Ocean Boulevard, directly across from their trolley depot, in the hope that ridership to the beach would increase as a result.
Passengers from Amesbury, Newburyport, Exeter, and surrounding areas soon flocked to Hampton, in part because the trolleys offered a convenient and economical mode of travel. A trip from Market Square in Portsmouth to the beach, for example, cost 20 cents and covered the picturesque mile distance in one hour and 15 minutes. The Casino itself proved a highly successful lure, however. Illuminated by thousands of electric lights, the Casino celebrated its official grand opening Saturday, July 15, The two-and-a-half story building ran feet along Ocean Boulevard and featured open porches running the entire length on both the ground and second levels.
Inside, the ground floor consisted of a dining room and a small cafe, both run by a "noted" Haverhill caterer. Most of the floor space, however, was taken up by several pool and billiard tables and two full-length bowling alleys. Upstairs, a larger and more spacious dining room, complete with an open end fireplace made of seashells and stone, catered to the more sophisticated diner.
Also on the second floor was a large hall suitable for dances, private gatherings, or road shows. For the more fitness-minded, the casino had an athletic field in the rear, which doubled as a playground or baseball diamond. One hundred dressing rooms for swimmers and beachgoers were also added to the complex. Because of the casino's enormous popularity during its first year of operation, its owners began to work feverishly on two additions, both completed in On the north end, a room hotel, aptly named "Ocean House.
An intricate electric bell system provided fast and efficient service to all rooms, day and night. The southern addition was nearly as large as the original building itself; the new two-and-a-half story convention hall had a frontage of only 47 feet, but ran feet deep. The lower floor consisted of a billiard room and several more bowling alleys, while a large, auditorium-sized hall took up most of the second level.
It soon became evident that the two additions were not enough to contain the steadily increasing crowds. In , construction was completed on the largest casino structure to date: the Opera House. On the south side of the convention hall, this building added 58 feet to the front of the complex and ran feet deep.
The original porches which ran along the casino were extended along the front of the new convention hall and newer Opera House, with the latter's facade complimented by 2 hexogonal towers that were utilized as observatories. The Opera House's first floor featured dressing rooms whose facilities were further expanded by the relocation of the casino's original bath houses.
The second floor was taken up by a seat theater which featured vaudeville acts and the musical revues of the time. Also in , a merry-go-round and a gun cottage were added to the rear of the casino. With the casino finally expanded to fit the needs of its many visitors, business boomed and continued to do so for the next 20 years.
In , the last trolley of the Exeter, Hampton and Amesbury Street Railway made the trip to Hampton Beach, and service was discontinued. Ironically, the casino, which had been built merely as an attractive lure for trolley riders, remained in operation, drawing larger and larger crowds. That same year, the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom was built, and a new era in the casino's history began. Incorporating part of the Opera House, plus added space toward the south, the ballroom was large enough to hold nearly 5, people on special nights and holidays, and its wooden dance floor was one of the largest in the region.
The ballroom soon became the most popular nightspot in the area. Selected filters. All reviews play slots chicken parmesan lots of fun great place to have dealers poker nh. Barbra B wrote a review Jul Boston, Massachusetts 10 contributions 14 helpful votes. Great gambling; OK service. Really like the table and Keno. Service is average Tables are fun but blackjack limited to 4 and oddly poker is 6! Read more. Date of experience: July Helpful Share. Itsme wrote a review Jul Had an issue with the blond day bartender in the past totally ignored me while waiting for a drink but I just finally got my drinks and went on my way.
Same bartender this Sunday afternoon was there, my girlfriend and I stood at the bar for at least 20 minutes while she ran around like she was so busy. I repeated to her exactly what I said to my husband! She cut US off and they asked US to leave! Sorry Tony but how can you allow this? I own a bar and I would NEVER allow my bartender to walk away from the bar to confront someone that has a bad opinion about her.
Earl Martin sr wrote a review Jun Lynn, Massachusetts 2 contributions. Best casino in NH. The people who work there are very friendly, even the owner Anthony is very hands on and goes out of his way to make you feel comfortable during your visit. The dealers are also very personable. Very much recommended.
Date of experience: April Leanne wrote a review Nov Marlborough, Massachusetts 6 contributions 3 helpful votes. Lots of fun for a small casino! This place is great. It's small, but that's part of the fun. The food is sensational, and they have a full bar. The staff just adds to the atmosphere. They are friendly and informative, and loads of fun. This isn't a Foxwoods or a Mohegan Sun, but it's lots of fun. Also, a significant part of what you spend is donated to charity, so you can feel great about that too!
Go and visit. Date of experience: August Linda R wrote a review Oct
Vaudeville shows ran in the Opera House; a penny arcade, merry go-round, and shooting range, complete with live ammunition and clay pigeons were added below, on the street level. Baseball, now popular to many, was played frequently in the back to sizable crowds. Like most Atlantic resorts, the Casino flourished during the industrial revolution. Beginning in the first two weeks in July when the mills shut down, workers escaped their dark, ten-hour work days and streamed to the shore for sunlight and fresh air.
Running on the new alternating current, the trolleys made the resort accessible to those near and far. A little more than a quarter of a century after the Casino's founding, radio, records and motion pictures were creating a new kind of entertainer - the national star. Patterned on old English ballrooms, the new owners incorporated part of the old Opera House and added space toward the south end of the complex.
The ballroom's wooden dance floor was one of the largest in the region and it soon became the most popular nightspot in the area. Each week, more than 20, people danced in the air-conditioned ballroom. The Casino Ballroom's popularity reached a new peak in the mid's big band era. Though liquor was prohibited and the dress code strict - men rented ties for a nickel - thousands crowded onto the dance floor to dance. Patrons lined a fence outside and bought tickets or "checks", usually five for a quarter, that admitted them onto the dance floor.
The "check-dancing" rage had begun. The Casino Ballroom became one of the highest-grossing ballrooms in the country. In , John Dineen, Sr. By the early 's, John Dineen, Jr. After the war, Dineen's nephew John took over and ran the Casino for the next 30 years. The former FBI agent was a hands-on executive, often manning the soda fountain, stocking supplies and washing dishes in his trademark brown and white wing-tip shoes. The Ballroom was Dineen's first and lasting Casino love.
The rules were strictly enforced. One hot night, Tommy Dorsey dared to remove his suit coat. Dineen's adamancy made the nightspot secure. William J. O'Brien, a frequent patron, told the Boston Globe in , "The ballroom was the only place where mothers would let unescorted girls go becuase they knew how well policed it was.
In the 60's, rock 'n roll started to creep into the Ballroom with acts like the Supremes, the Four Tops and the Four Aces. The businessman in Dineen couldn't resist the lucrative allure of rock 'n roll. The Doors, Janis Joplin, the Who and Chicago played to sold-out Casino Ballroom crowds, who paid ten times more admission than the check-dancers had. One fateful night in July, , more than 3, ticket-less fans showed up to a sold-out Jethro Tull show.
A human tidal wave besieged the building, fans scaling walls and dropping through skylights on the roof. Though no one was injured, ten youths were arrested and one police officer was injured. It was immediately following this event that the town of Hampton banned any further rock performances. During the mid 's, long-awaited transformation began.
Fred Schaake, Sr. Going for the quick buck would have a devastating effect on the economy. It's the only commercial beach in New Hampshire; everything else is residential. The first step in its re-design was to complete both cosmetic and structural changes to try to attract the younger crowd.
A Massachusetts-based interior decorator selected the Club's colors - red, blue and olive green. A Scottish company custom made a paisley wool rug for the massive floor. But the ghost of Jethro Tull still haunted the Casino. Goodwin, however, had a plan. Due to its limited seating capacity, his strategy was to work at catching both rising and falling stars to build back the Ballroom's reputation with the industry and to eventually grab bigger stars at their peak.
Between and , more than one million dollars in renovations were completed, work which included rewiring the entire building, demolishing the Ocean House hotel and partially revamping the interior of the complex.
The most obvious work done to date is the buildings' new white-columned facade which was completed in February Goodwin's plan was coming to life. Club Casino was once again revered as a destination for the best in entertainment. Repeated sell-outs in the 's allowed Club Casino to hold as many as 50 shows in a three month period.
This grueling pace managed to take a toll and as the 's grew near it was evident that change would once again be needed in order to revitalize the historic building. After achieving success as a songwriter for others, Parton made her album debut in with Hello, I'm Dolly.
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