The Newport Casino & the Gilded Age

The penultimate episode of “The Gilded Age” HBO took a little trip to Newport, Rhode Island, and had the characters socialising at the Newport Casino.

An inside peek on the Gilded Age filming location.

The Newport Casino opened in 1880 (only two years before the show is set!) and was designed as a new model of social club.

The entrance on Bellevue Avenue (just a stone’s throw from many of the Newport mansions) also housed shopfronts and a restaurant, and then if you went upstairs, you’d find reading rooms, billiards and club rooms.

Look at that American Shingle architecture!

Inside, there were facilities for lawn tennis and court tennis, where we saw the younger characters play, whilst the old and new money look on, mingling and play out their social strategy.

Rolex of course keeping the time.

There was never an actual gambling casino there – “casino” has its origins in the Italian “casa”, and means a small summer house or social club.

It was commissioned by James Gordon Bennett Jr., publisher of the “New York Herald” – the land was opposite his home Stone Villa – and designed by McKim, Mead and White in the American Shingle style.

The tennis courts! I’m pretty sure this was where the characters are standing on the TV show – another little inside peek of the Gilded Age filming location.

On August 31st 1881 (great date, it’s my birthday, though I’m obviously not quite that old), the Casino hosted the first US National Men’s Singles Championship. It hosted this until 1914, when the event had become too big, and went to Forest Hills, New York. This event became what we know today as the US Open.

The Bellevue Avenue entrance.

Today the Casino is a tennis club and home to the International Tennis Hall of Fame – I love tennis so much, so I went wild over the tennis museum!

Racquet display in the museum.

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