DEAL CASINO: QUICK HISTORY OF LEGENDARY BEACH CLUB

Originally published April 15, 2010:

Every April since 1907, the staff at Deal Casino begins preparing for another great summer.

The original Deal Casino was located a few blocks south of the current location and was the place to be during the summer for locals.

“It cost eight dollars for a family for the season in 1907,” said Jim Foley, manager of Deal Casino and town historian.  “And the term ‘casino’ referred to a gathering place in the Victorian era, which still accurately defines what the beach club is today.”

The first location was a two-story structure designed in the Spanish Mediterranean style of architecture and featured a second floor ballroom and tennis courts on the property.  The main floor had huge arches which led to grand stairs and a tunnel which members would walk through to get to the beach area.  [more below]

The stunning 3,000 square foot sundeck sits immediately behind the iconic red brick privacy wall.

The stunning 3,000 square foot sundeck sits immediately behind the iconic red brick privacy wall.

Movie theatre king Walter Reed and Inglas Uppercue, owner of one of the first airlines – which eventually became TWA – were just two of the many illustrious members of the original Deal Casino.

“The story goes that Walter enjoyed sunbathing without a shirt,” said Foley.  “The mayor spotted him topless on the beach and after two warnings, had Walter arrested for indecent exposure.”

Uppercue always made a grand entrance into the Casino.

“Inglas would be flown by seaplane a few yards out from the shoreline on the ocean,” said Foley.  “Casino lifeguards would row out to pick him up and bring him to the pool.  Inglas spent some time at the pool and then would be rowed back to his awaiting plane to fly back to New York City for the rest of the workday.”

In 1957 the current-day 30 acre Deal Casino was born behind the mysterious red brick walls that remain today.  It features a gorgeous Olympic-size 700,000 gallon saltwater swimming pool with two diving boards, a 3,000 square foot sundeck and 570 private bath houses in four sizes. Walking through the entrance every visitor is struck by the beautiful royal blue and crisp-white color theme in everything from the canvas umbrellas to the cushions on the rattan lounge chairs on the sundeck. The sundeck gently slopes into the distinctive black sand beach.

“The largest mussel bed on the east coast is located between Elberon and Loch Arbor,” said Foley.  “The black sand is pulverized mussel shells for millions of years.”

Previously only open to Borough of Deal residents, Deal Casino has welcomed members from all over the area for the past three years.

“The recent opening up of casino membership to out of town residents has added a new spark to the place,” said Foley.  “There is a whole new multi-generation enjoying the club and its amenities.”

Today, membership (family fees range from $1,000 to $2,500) comes with a private, secure bathhouse which range in sizes from 80 to 300 square feet, including luxe oceanfront cabanas. Many bathhouses are customized by members and feature rich wood paneling, ceiling fans, mini stainless steel appliances and custom cabinets.

The Casino is one of my favorite local destinations during the summer.

Call the Borough of Deal for a brochure or more information 732.531.1454. Keep reading: the glam history of the Borough of Deal.

Richard@TheBPlot.com

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