Construction on the new Casino and Carousel House began in May 1928 as part of Asbury Park’s five million dollar beachfront development program. During this period, the expansion of the boardwalk attracted many summer tourists, and the construction of new properties encouraged more people to spend their seasons at the shore.
The architecture of the new Casino was highly praised as “one of the most handsome”, replacing the previous Casino that had been destroyed by fire a year earlier. The new Casino was built of brick and limestone with copper trim as a fire prevention measure. The building featured an elaborate design, including an archway over the boardwalk made of copper with winged seahorse decorations, paying homage to the sea god Poseidon. The arcade, connected to the new Casino on the east and west wings in the same way as the old one.
The Convention Center occupied the northern side of the boardwalk, while on the southern side, adjacent to the religious community of Ocean Grove, several structures designed by the same people who designed the Grand Central Station were built. These structures, including a grand casino and its accompanying arcade, offered a variety of entertainment options such as rides, concessions, and year-round accommodations, and would come to define the town’s character.
However, over time, Asbury Park fell into decline and by the 1980s, the entertainment district had largely fallen apart. The buildings were left abandoned and fell into disrepair. In 1990, the famous carousel was purchased and moved to Family Kingdom Park in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where it currently operates with fiberglass replicas of the original wooden horses.
During the 2000s, the Casino faced similar neglect leading to its demolition as Palace Amusements did. No efforts were made to repair or reinforce the severely damaged roof over the back section of the building, and it was ultimately demolished in 2006.
Influence on Skate Culture
Skate culture has a long history in Asbury Park, and the 1970s were no exception. The Casino building was more than just a casino, after one of its remodels, it became the Casino Arena Skateboard Park and hosted competitions. The competitions featured a 22-foot wall with a 75-degree incline and drew in both amateur and professional skateboarders, with the expectation of 1,200 amateurs and 200 professionals competing in the second annual SKA-BO Eastern Skateboard Association’s championship. Skate culture was spreading from the West Coast to the East Coast and becoming popular in coastal beach towns, similar to the way surfing is associated with beach culture.