St. Augustine, Fl
|Casino Fact Sheet
March 1889 The Casino pool is open for 25 cents non-hotel guests.
St. Augustine News February 28, 1889
Opening of the Casino.
Amid Floridian Flowers
Plenty of Pretty Maidens and Pretty Dancers.
Everyone was surprised at the large number in attendance at the informal hop at the Casino, last evening,
as only the guests of the hotel were expected.
The ladies' social hall of the Casino was brilliantly illuminated and dressed with flags of all nations, bunting
and plants of all descriptions. It presented an exceedingly imposing sight to see all the fair maidens with
their escorts gliding around under these massive and variegated colored decorations. All this was under
the chief instructions of the genial manager, M. J. Joyce, who also acted as floor manager. His assistants
were Mr. Marder, Jr., Doctor Carson, Mr. Rockwood and Mr. Milliken.
The orchestra was located in the dining room, in front of the social hall. The selections rendered by
Joyce's orchestra gave the finishing touch to the pleasures of the evening.
After the programme was half through with, refreshments of cream, cake and coffee were served. Then
the dancing was resumed and kept up until a late hour.
Among the costumes of the ladies present were some of very costly material and very handsomely made
up. Most of the gentlemen present were in full dress. Among those present were noticed Mr. and Mrs.
Springer, Miss Gertrude Palmer, Mr. Tate and Miss Tate, Miss Ella Dow, Dr. Le Cato, Miss Magill,
Miss Ida Thursby and Miss Emma Thursby the prima donna, Miss Hyde and Miss Lulu Hyde, Mr. and
Mrs. H F. Beliac, Mr. York and his sister, Miss Monroe, Mr. and Mrs. Denny, Mrs. M. J. Joyce, Miss
Martin, Miss Fanny Oliveros, Miss Ballard, Mr. and Mrs. George Alba, Mrs. S. D. McCare, Mrs.
Munger, Mr. and Mrs. Coigate, Miss Lowe, Miss A. McCleary, Miss Ruggies, Miss Perkins, Mr. and
Mrs. A. Guigon, Mr. and Mrs. Tyler, Miss Klapp, Miss Alexander, Dr. Anderson, Lient Lotus Niles,
Judge McWilliams and Messrs Gray. Dalias, Milliken, Rockwood, Vedder, Savage, Palmer, Warden
Jr., Bugley, Seavey and Mason.
The day the formal opening of the hotel takes place, an admission fee of ten cents during the day and 25
cents at night will be charged. This will entitle the visitor to a thorough inspection of the building including
the baths. Three grand concerts will be given by Joyce's Military Band and the orchestra in the evening.
Dancing will take place again tonight between each selection of music for the last concert.
The following programmes has been prepared by Mr. Joyce:
Ten o'clock this morning - Military Band.
1 National aires.
2 Overture, "Semiramide."
3 Spanish Fantasie, "La Paloma"
4 Nylocalure Solo, "Song that Reached my Heart."
5 Fackel Tanz, "Number One."
6 Operatic Potpourri, "Jubilee."
7 Waltz, "Sounds from the North."
8 Finale, "Sleigh Ride."
Orchestra 8 to 10 p.m.
1 March, "St. Augustine Casino."
2 Overture, "William Tell."
3 Cornet Solo, "Bonnie Besgie."
4. Selection, "Gipsy Baron."
5 Gavotte "Heartease."
6 Xylophone Solo. "Southern Melodies."
7 Patrol, "The Elks."
8 Finale, "Hunting Scene and Chorus."
The Alcazar Pool. 1890
Probably one of the most luxurious apartments in the world is the Alcazar pool. One can go there when it
opens, take a bath in any style, from the romantic oriental to the prosaic plunge bath; can revel in hot,
cold, salt, sulphur, or fresh water as he chooses, in a pool or bathroom, take a good rubbing down, and
have a quiet siesta in one of the loggias, listening to the music, or watch the devotees of Terpsichore float
in the dream of a waltz over a floor like glass to the strains of one of the finest orchestras in America.
The loss by fire of the Casino which joins the Alcazar, and contains the immense ball room, swimming
pool, Turkish and Russian baths, the bowling alleys and billiard room was said to be over $75,000. But
while the debris was still steaming, Mr. Flagler's contractors had gangs of men clearing it away, and
preparing to restore the place in all its former magnificence. In less than six weeks the Casino will be
open again and ready to hold the grand fair in aid of Alicia hospital, the pet charity here
Concert at St. Augustine (Times Union, Feb. 3, 1891)
The principals of the late Emma Abbott Opera company, by invitation, gave their second night's concert
(see Genovar's Opera House)in the Casino, to an elite audience, in which was a duo from "Martha,"
Broderick and Michelena; "Last Rose of Summer," Mme. Broderick, "Yeoman's Wedding," Broderick;
grand aria - Lucia di Lammermoor, Eva Cummungs; romanza - "Marta," Michelens; trio - "Attila," Mr.
and Mme. Broderick and Michelena. The fourth act of "Il Trovatore" was given by Michelena,
Broderick, Eva Cummings and Mme. Broderick in such an excellent manner that the enthusiastic
audience insisted upon a repetition of the prison song. The whole opera was a musical success. They sing
at Winter Park Wednesday.
Casino Buffet (1892 Tatler)
The Casino buffet has proved such a success since its establishment recently that Mr. Knott has
determined to serve two regular course dinners hereafter; the noon dinner or luncheon served from one
to three, costing fifty cents. Late dinner will be served from six to eight o'clock, at a cost of one dollar;
the dishes to order will remain the same as before. The buffet remains open until twelve o'clock p.m.
Last week, Saturday, two gentlemen arrived at the Alcazar in the forenoon, after inspecting their room,
they set out to see the sights, presently they found themselves in the Casino, charmed with the
appearance of the pool, they took a plunge, afterwards went up stairs and ordered lunch; after testing
that fully they inquired the way to the bowling alley, where the afternoon was spent; after a supper served
in the restaurant, they wandered into the theatre part, and watched the sleight-of-hand performance, had
a cold bottle, and with a sigh of regret that beds were not furnished, departed, saying "this place is good
enough for me." The following morning was spent in the Turkish baths.
Every day the Casino grows in public favor, daily many ladies now enjoy the swimming in the early
morning, returning for the noon concert that quite fills the pool floor. The concerts given by the Imperial
Hungarian Gypsy Band both in the morning and afternoon are delightful and largely attended, while the
young men swing from ring to ring for exercise with the trapeze, returning to the water for a frolic
Commencing on Monday next, the Casino restaurant will be prepared to serve lunches, supper and light
refreshments in the Casino proper, where tables will be arranged for the purpose. This no doubt will add
greatly to the popularity of the Casino, placing it on the plane of similar places of amusements elsewhere.
The Casino will also be open in the evenings, the second concert occurring at eight instead of half past
two. The Casino has been treated to a fresh coat of paint that extends to the floors of the pool, all
appearing very bright and fresh. Gentlemen visiting there find it a great convenience to be able to
purchase cigars without leaving the building.
Mr. A. M. Taylor, the superintendent, is very confident that the new departure will be appreciated by the
patrons of the Casino. He has entire charge of the buildings including the Turkish and Russian baths,
pools, Casino proper billiard room, bowling alleys and tennis courts, and will undoubtedly conduct them
The opening of the bowling alley will meet with favor, as a number of good players are eager to renew
their contests of last season. A number of good tennis players are here and soon the courts will be gay
with bright faces and fresh young voices.
* * *
The Casino has grown in popularity with each succeeding day, the crowds visiting there increasing.
Evidently water sports are the fad of the hour, judging from the rush to see them; but even this is excelled
by the cake walk. On Friday night of last week at least one thousand persons gathered to see a cake
walk and as one man tritely remarked "the cake did not walk after all." It did not; but evidently every
visitor got his or her money's worth. A large crowd was again in attendance Saturday night when the
boat races caused great amusement.
Water sports will be "the order of the night," to-night, when an unusually large crowd will no doubt be
present. Tuesday and Wednesday the Casino will be given over to the hospital fair. This will not,
however, interfere with the regular pool program. One of the most fearless and dashing athletes now
frequenting the pool is Mr. Mayer. His leap from the second balcony several days ago was a beautiful
* * *
The Imperial Hungarian Gypsy Band, of the Casino, will give a benefit concert and dance Tuesday
evening March 5th, in the Casino. They will be assisted by Miss Mildred Perryn, violinist, Henry Perryn
cornetist and Mr. Reedun Rumley, pianist. The "Cordova Quartette" will render selections during the
evening. The Hungarian bands have been the fashion for several years in Northern cities, and still are.
Their weird, strange music is singularly impressive. The romance attaching to them as natural musicians
playing from childhood, has made them popular. To announce a concert by them or their presence at an
entertainment was to insure its success. Last year, at the San Marco, this band, under another leader,
"was the fashion," winning a prestige that still clings to them and will, no doubt, fill the Casino with an
* * *
The Casino Opening
Thursday evening the Casino was formally opened for the season. Mr. Knott extending a general
invitation to attend the first evening convert, given by the Imperial Hungarian Gypsy band, and to inspect
the Turkish and Russian baths, the finest in the country. Long before the appointed hour, 9 p. m., a
perfect stream of people passed through the Alcazar Court and loggias to the Casino entrance, and all
through the evening it was augmented by newcomers. The young men enjoying a plunge in the pool
before dancing, others spending the entire evening in the water and exercising on the ring and trapeze.
Many of the ladies in attendance donned their prettiest gowns in honor of the occasion. The music was
excellent and intended especially for dancing, the young people availing themselves of it, the entire room
bright with them. Many of the visitors inspected the baths, expressing wondrous delight at their beautiful
marbles and luxurious appointments. The room adapted to the use of the athletic club especially
delighting the young people.
The latest addition to the Casino attractions are trapeze, suspended from the rafters over the water,
affording those fond of athletic sports additional amusement. They are on the north or entrance side, and
every precaution has been taken to guard against accident. A large awning will be suspended over the
broad veranda on the south, overlooking the tennis courts. It is the purpose of the management to serve
lunches and refreshments of various kinds in the Casino. Tables will be placed both in the Casino proper
and on this broad veranda for the purpose. Waiters will attend and visitors be served as they enjoy the
music and other entertainments.
The Turkish and Russian baths will hereafter be open to ladies from nine until two every day but Sunday,
the afternoons, from two until dark, and Sunday reserved for gentlemen.
* * *
On Wednesday night the restaurant of the Casino was opened most auspiciously, guests from the hotels
dropping in during the evening for a salad or a Welsh rarebit, others testing the chief's skill in preparing
chops and steak or trying a cold collation; many of the dancers were served with tempting lunches
between the numbers. The arrangements are certainly very complete, the tables presenting an attractive
appearance; the west end of the Casino being utilized as the restaurant; the stage at the south side
concealed by pretty draperies, a happy arrangement of plants, mirrors and a large buffet cutting it off
from the main hall, at the same time permitting a perfect view of the pool below and the dancers on the
same floor. The tables seat six person, are daintily laid with pretty china, cut and engraved glass and
handsome silver, while upon each table is placed either a dinner lamp or handsome silver candelabra,
completed with pink shades, imparting a roseate hue in keeping with the reflections on the walls. Plants
and flowers are freely used, making the place extremely attractive; well-trained waiters are in attendance,
and the bill of fair offered, appetizing and reasonable in price. For the benefit of the public it is given
On Half Shell Per Doz. .50
On Half Shell Per Half Doz. 30with Brown Bread and Butter
Pan Roast, Extras, per doz. .75
Fried per doz. .50
With Saratoga Chips.
Broiled on Toast, per doz. .75
Porterhouse Steak 1.00
With Saratoga Chips,
Sirloin Steak .60
With Saratoga Chips, Fish .50
Broiled or Fried.
Hot Porterhouse Steak, Served for Two, 1.50
With Saratoga Chips
London Mutton Chops, per brace .75 with Saratoga Chips.
Welsh Rarebits., .50
Served with Bread and Butter
Kalamazoo Celery, .25
Tea, Coffee or Chocolate .10
The restaurant will be open from eleven a.m. to eleven p.m., enabling persons occupying rooms in the
city to obtain meals here, ordering just what they wish, as in restaurants in the cities. This will
undoubtedly become the fashion for Welsh rarebit parties the fad of the day or rather night, so difficult to
manage, especially for the guests in the hotel.
It is frequently asserted and oftener believed, that everything here is more extravagant in price than at
summer resorts, when really the reverse obtains, as a rule, the Casino here offering greater attractions
than at Narragansett Pier, the charges being much less. There, general admission to the Casino is fifty
cents, to a semiweekly dance, $1.00 to the tennis courts twenty-five cents. Monthly privileges, these are
admission to the library, tennis courts, billiard rooms, attendance at the dances and daily concerts. The
admission to the Casino here is but 10 cents, twenty-five giving privilege of the pool and dressing rooms,
the trapeze and rings and the restaurant. While common tickets may be purchased, reducing the amount
to twenty common tickets may be purchased, reducing the amount to twenty cents or less. Admission to
the dances is but twenty-five cents, the music equally good, the floor much better, the room handsomer,
while the guests of the Ponce de Leon, Alcazar and Cordova are furnished with tickets without cost.
The Tatler - January 22, 1898
The formal opening of the Casino for the season of 1898 occurred on the 18th, and was a brilliant affair
thoroughly enjoyed by hundreds of citizens and visitors to the city. Every hotel in the city was
represented, cottagers were out in force, while St. Augustineites who are especially devoted to the
Casino were also there.
Mr. Taylor, manager of the Casino, issued invitations to nearly one thousand persons, at least six
Ladies in evening dress, others in street costume, many wearing picturesque hats. Gentlemen in street
costume and in full dress, alike, thoroughly enjoyed the evening, the beautiful room with its myriad of
gleaming lights, while the hundreds of dancers declared the floor as ideal. The music was excellent, and
those believing dancing a lost art should have seen the merry dancers Tuesday night, the entire south side,
one hundred and twenty feet by thirty was crowded the evening through, the north side comfortably filled
with enthusiastic dancers.
The Casino orchestra has again been selected from the First Artillery band, and is one of the finest in the
Army, enthusing the dancers.
At ten o-clock the measure changed, and fleet footed waiters flitted about serving to the six or seven
hundred people present an appetizing collation of salads, bread and butter, coffee and ices, later a punch
was served, when dancing was resumed and continued until the midnight hour. This popular place of
amusement has an increasing number of admiring patrons each year who delight in the pool and music in
the morning, and the opportunities for dancing in the evening.
Casino parties promise to be very fashionable this season, the hostess taking her party of young people
there for dancing and later giving supper at her own home.
The formal opening of the Casino includes all branches of this popular place of amusement. The Turkish
and Russian Baths, gymnasium as well as the pool, private bath rooms, billiard rooms, bowling alleys,
which have been entirely rebuilt. Tennis courts and bicycle school.
The Turkish baths are now open to the public. The hours between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. are for ladies, with
Miss Charlotte McKenna in charge. From 2 o'clock until dark Mr. Frank O. Bierne will have charge and
they will be open for men. Sundays from 9 until 2 for men only. Willie de Medicis, the Turk, will be in
attendance as usual. The regular admission to the casino will be ten cents for bath day and evening,
except when special entertainments are given. The evening concert will consist of music for dancing only,
thus affording parties an opportunity to utilize the perfect floor and excellent music.
Seldom indeed have the patrons of the Casino been more delightfully entertained than Thursday evening
by the "Biograph," one of the marvels of this electrical age. The reproduction of living, moving men and
women, life size, of galloping horses, dashing trains, gave very general satisfaction. When the last scene
appeared, and the audience passed by beautiful scenery through Haverstraw tunnel and out again along
the banks of the historic Hudson, their enthusiasm was boundless. While the audience was a good one,
had the people of St. Augustine had the least idea of what the show would be, the great hall would have
been crowded. We bespeak a full house tonight.
For the Maine Victims (February 22, 1898)
A concert will be given in the Casino Thursday evening at 7 o'clock for the benefit of the suffers of the
Maine disaster under the patronage of ladies of the city and guests of the hotels. A number of visitors
have volunteered their services and some home talent, promising a concert of unusually high order.
Tickets on sale at all hotels. General admission 50 cents. Reserved seats $1 Plat at Casino.
His First Bath.
A Modest Young Man at the Casino Learning the Ropes.
An incident occurred in the Casino baths on last Sunday morning which furnished much amusement for
many at the expense of one. When a person goes in for a Russian bath he is assigned to a dressing room.
There he disrobes and wrapping a towel about his loins comes out and repairs to the steam room where
he spends half an hour in a temperature of 130 degrees. He is then taken in charge by Voltaire, the
attendant, who conducts him to the scrub room and gives him a good rubbing down.
The third gentleman to reach the baths on Sunday morning was assigned to room 6. Others came pouring
in and as soon as they were undressed, they emerged and went into the steam room. Voltaire went about
his business and had nearly finished his mornings work. He was passing through the saloon when the
occupant of room No. 6 stealthily opened his door and sticking his head out so as not to expose his nude
body, enquired how long he was expected to remain in his room.
It was impossible for those lying about to suppress a laugh, even the attendant had to chuckle. The
occupant of No. 6 then realized that probably he had made a mistake and frankly confessed that he was
having his first Russian bath. He remarked that he had heard something about a sweating room and said
that he had tried his best to get up a perspiration in his room, but failed. Glancing at the clock he
discovered that he had been in his room for just one hour and that sixteen persons had got ahead of him.
No. 6 then followed the attendant and when he robed in the saloon he remarked that he enjoyed his bath
Casino Will Open Monday For 1910 Winter Season
The Casino will open for business on Monday, January 17th, at 9 a.m. The guests and patrons will find it
more comfortable than ever before as it has been thoroughly painted and the baths and gymnasium have
been put in first-class condition. There will be music from 11 to 12 o'clock. The usual water sports and
dancing will occur on Saturday evenings.
It will be in charge of Prof. John F. Conroy, a well known athlete and author, who has been physical
director and fencing master of the municipal gymnasium of Boston, Mass., and also the Roxbury Latin
School for the past ten years. He is a Harvard graduate and professor of Hygiene and Massage; has
been awarded the Congressional Medal by the United States and the Carnegie Medal for bravery in
saving life. He has published several books relating to the art of swimming and of saving life and also on
He is ably assisted by Mr. Gustave Anderson and Mme. Edith Stromblad, both of whom are experts in
hydrotherapeutic and Turkish treatments and graduate operators of the art of massage. Mr. Anderson
has devoted the past eight years to the hydrotherapy and Turkish bathing and has operated in some of
the famous Turkish baths in the country as well as in the Massachusetts General Hospital of Boston.
The lady patrons of the baths will find in Mme. Stromblad a very fine operator of the hydrotherapy baths
and massage. She is a graduate of Sanders Institution of Stockholm, Sweden, and New York. She has
made massage a life study and will be remembered by patrons of the north shore of Massachusetts as
she has treated there for a number of years.
Hours for ladies will be from 9 a. m. to 2 p. m. and for gentlemen from 2 p. m. to 6 p. m. Classes in
physical culture for both ladies and gentlemen will be a special feature. Prof. Conroy will be in charge.
January 24, 1910
Formal Opening of Casino
First Water Sports of Season Enjoyed Saturday Evening.
The first grand opening of the Casino occurred on Saturday evening at 8:30 o'clock, the music was
furnished by Prouty's orchestra. The guests of the Ponce de Leon and the Alcazar were well represented
and among the number were Mrs. Henry M. Flagler, Mrs. Fletcher, Mr. C. G. Thorne, C. W. Hewson,
Mrs. H. S. A. Stuart, Mr. And Mrs. C. W. Anthony, Mr. And Mrs. Wetherell, Mr. And Mrs. T. V.
Meigs, Miss Catharine Chambers, Mr. W. H. Chambers, Mr. And Mrs. Percival, Mr. And Mrs.
Sherrer, Mrs. Ladd, Mrs. Reeves and Mr. Horace Flagler, also guests from the smaller hotels and
cottage people of St. Augustine.
The Casino has been thoroughly painted and renovated and all were loud in their praise of the delightful
condition of the building.
A delightful musical program was rendered during the water sports which were started with fancy diving
by Prof. John F. Conroy, the director of the Casino swimming pool and gymnasium, and one sees in his
fancy diving the grace and control one can obtain by constant practice. Then followed fancy diving by the
boys, which was very amusing. The different events contested for were the candle, egg, clothes and
obstacle races, two lap speed races one for the seniors and one for the juniors. Between the races were
daring flying dives from rings, trapezes and balconies performed by Messrs. Goode, Downs, Walton,
McDaniels, Evans and others. The water sports concluded by the boys trying to walk a greased pole.
Money prizes were awarded in each event. Then all adjourned to the ball room, where dancing
continued until 11 p.m. and all pronounced the entertainment a success.
The judges of the races were Messrs. Sherrer, Percival, Salter and Chambers.
R. S. Fuller swimming instructor
John Walton, therapeutic baths and massage
Water sports 8:30 pm
Admissions .50 downstairs
The water in the pool was artesian from a well sunk 1,400 feet deep. It's natural temperature was 80+.
The water was sulphur so it left a good rotten egg smell in the building. The water circulated through the
pool and was then used in the flush of the sewer system. There were two smaller pools one for the
women and one for the men. The woman's pool was hidden so that modest women could swim in private.
|Below: Picture of pool drained. Notice the glass ceiling
Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Buildings
Survey or Historic American Engineering Record, Reproduction Number
|Detail of outside - Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic
American Buildings Survey or Historic American Engineering Record, Reproduction
|Casino Pool Filled
|Casino showing Tennis Courts and Power Plant
|A. M. Taylor
|Back of Hotel beginning of Casino
|Photograph by William Henry Jackson