Sunday, September 2, 2012

Tennis Anyone?

I'm a huge tennis fan and I always look forward to watching the US Open this time of year, sometimes in person, but mostly on TV.  The stadium, the crowds, and the city are larger than life and are a lively and amazing spectacle, but it got me thinking about a smaller more intimate venue, one with a spectacular architectural background...the Newport Casino.

 It must me an incredible place to play tennis, grass courts, tennis whites (I'm guessing), and the most beautiful shingle style architecture surrounding the courts.

 The casino was commissioned in 1880 by James Gordon Bennett as a private social club.  The word "casino" having a different definition then, meaning small building built for pleasure.  It was designed by McKim, Mead, and White architects.  The photo above is from 1880 showing the original street front of the Casino from Bellevue Avenue. 

This is a relatively modern shot of the Bellevue Avenue facade...very little has changed.  In large part because in 1954 the casino became home to the International Tennis Hall of Fame, and they have restored and maintained the structure.

 I think the plan of this building is fantastic.  The building presents a very solid edge to the street with retail shops on the first floor; there is no hint from the street about what's beyond.

This is a shot of a theater inside the building. It is apparently leased and maintained by a local college, Salve Regina.



  1. What a great building complex.

    I have no problem with the definition of casino being a building created for pleasure, but I am surprised that so many lovely facilities were built into a private club.

    The gardens looked big enough to have held summer weddings, the theatre was/is splendid, the tennis courts were very attractive etc. What were the other spaces for - was there a dining room? Who knew Newport had a quiet treasure tucked away there!

  2. I have played on a grass court and love it! This casino looks amazing, and I would love to visit.
    Happy Monday.