Filling in the Blanks
Feb 20, 2017 06:38PM
● By Don Kindred
SC History [2 Images] Click Any Image To Expand
The Casino San Clemente Community and private center for live music, theater and private events including weddings GRAND OPENING: July 31, 1937 (Built by the Bank of America at the end of the Great Depression by the Strang Brothers) Toward the end of the Great Depression, local investors endeavored to attract new home buyers to the struggling “Spanish Village by the Sea” development by adding a dance and music hall to welcome visitors alongside the Ole Hanson Beach Club. The iconic red domed ballroom was inspired by the larger Catalina Casino dance hall in Avalon and still boasts incredible acoustics. The Casino San Clemente opened on July 31, 1937 to a rumored 5000 attendees (in contrast to the approximate 500 residents living in San Clemente) with an entrance fee of 40 cents. “Casino” is a word drawn from the Italian language meaning “a gathering place” and true to intent the Casino San Clemente has a rich history of visiting Hollywood stars including Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Cesar Romero, Dorothy Lamour; live national radio broadcasts of big bands on stage; dinner theater evenings and the ocean view Yacht Club restaurant on site... full of vibrant life and dancing visitors arriving via PCH from LA and beyond as well as train along the coast. Over the course of 80 long years, the Casino San Clemente, a nationally reknown big band stage and dance hall, has transitioned as owners, uses and economies have changed. Notable segways have included: a dinner/theater venue featuring many well-known Hollywood legendary stars; Moose Hall; a Coast Guard center during WWII, an Eastern Medicine education center; and now (back to the beginning) a private event and celebration venue. Today, owned by the Sadeghi Family since 2009, after several years of loving restoration the Casino San Clemente is enjoying a renaissance in its 80th anniversary year, thanks to the ongoing love of music and celebration by the local community. It proudly hosts more than 100 private weddings a year, multiple fundraisers and philanthropic endeavors by local business groups, schools and churches; and is enjoying a recent renewal of award winning live music events such as the Spring, Summer and Autumn Jazz Series in the West Wing. Ellie’s Table cafe on site now serves the North Beach neighborhood artisan coffees, homebaked pastries and lunch items on its sunny patio. The Sadeghi’s look forward to another 80+ years of joyful gatherings and welcoming visitors to the Casino San Clemente. Look for many anniversary events in 2017! b 140 W. Avenida Pico in North Beach, San Clemente (949) 369-6600.
Next February, the City of San Clemente will officially reach the ripe old age of 90. We are kicking off the celebration in this issue by sharing a few stories and photographs of the buildings, businesses and organizations that have been a part of San Clemente’s rich and vibrant history.
On February 25th this year, we willcelebrate 89 years of cityhood,with our new holiday, the recently council-proclaimed “San Clemente Day.” So, for the next four issues the San Clemente Journal will feature historical vignettes of our community and celebrate the fore-sighted men and women who provided the goods and services to allow a growing community to thrive.