Hampton Beach & The Glorious 4th

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The Hampton Beach Casino -- Old and New

By Vern Colby

Seacoast Scene, Vol. 5, No. 187, June 29, 1982

The Casino a century ago
The Casino and Ocean House as they looked a century ago. (Photo courtesy Tuck Memorial Museum)

Soon there'll be the boom and flash of Fourth of July fireworks, and those will signify that the long school spring is over, that families will be flocking to our beaches, that all sorts of folks from all sorts of places will be making their treks to Hampton Beach -- for a day to escape the heart of cities and to bask in sun-warmed and ocean-cooled fresh air; or for two treasured weeks of beach, seaside dining, and ocean resort amusements; or luckier still for a month or the season of sailing, fishing, golfing, dancing and dining -- the panorama of seashore summers.

We do hope that the depressing cycle of weekends that till now have brought drizzle or downpour are over. There is reason to believe that that repeating pattern has been broken for Summer '82 -- we pray so, and weathermen have been hinting that may be the fact -- as boldly as they dare. One would be a fool to think that Hampton Beach has not been harmed for Hampton Beach Casino. In a dramatic row, stand column after column that tower two stories into the air; they are freshly painted white, and they gleam in the sun. A report before us says that there are 29 of them, spaced up to 18 feet apart, and that they are 21-feet tall. If you can picture that -- the long row of stately white king's masts forming a parade-rest the entire length of the Hampton Beach Casino, you have a sight to left your spirits.

Imagine what you wish. Does it make the same appeal as a full-rigged, sails billowing Yankee Clippership? The imposing strength and grace of a Southern Plantation Mansion? Bring back the dreams of the heyday of our whole coasts fashionable-era resort hotels? Any of these is appropriate enough. All cannot be done in a single summer, with such strengthening in both artistic and physical sense, plans and possibilities are seemingly endless. We talked with Fred Schaake, President, Hampton Beach Casino, Ind.:

The 'new' Casino
The "New" Hampton Beach Casino
in 1982
"The Hampton Beach Casino is a landmark of the beach. The new facade gives strength and improvement to the beach center. Improvements are in line with tradition and taste. The board walk was extended to accommodate the columns, and after Labor Day, the second floor will be extended to meet them and the trussed roof. The New Hampshire Savings Bank of Concord has provided financing. There will be railings at two levels, the view is magnificent."

Such work as described above carries a tag of about $400,000. Other plans considered will entail such exciting things as an exhibition hall on second floor for trade shows and conventions during off-season. An escalator, perhaps. Further second floor space for shops. We understand, that some glorious day again, many flags may fly from the top -- high in the sky, like the Fourth of July!

The Fourth of July visitor will find the Casino to be a holiday village in itself. There are shops, stores, and amusements galore; cookies to eat, horse races and shotting galleries to beat, amusement arcade, miniature golf, candy and leather and t-shirt and fast-food and cool-fruit and jewelry shops. And sportswear and swimwear and grocery/variety shops.

And all we can really say is "Look, look, look!" Someday, we'll walk at random and talk to some of the interesting entrepreneurs that run these places.

"The Pub at the Whale's Tale is becoming a social gathering place for merchant's beach-workers, summer visitors. There's a new, re-designed, four-sided bar that opens up the room; makes it warm and congenial; a place for friendly talk and visiting. From 10 p.m. till closing, a whole new light-snack and sandwich menu -- and after 10 p.m., free parking for Pub guests at The Casino Parking Lot." Fred Schaake talked to us about new folks here, and those with established reputations of so many beach years -- and we hope to meet many ... as summer steps along.

We did want to meet Mr. Richard Cooley, Executive Director, Coastal Chamber of Commerce. We found him excited about summer prospects as well as upcoming holiday weekend finishing with fireworks Sunday evening and Beach Band Concert, Monday night.

Due to excellent promotion of Hampton Beach underwritten by Hampton Beach Village District Precinct with substantial monies, inquiries for The Vacation Guide are up 60% from last year, and that has exhausted the printing of 30,000 copies -- but have no fear, a mini-guide has been quickly prepared and should now be "hot-off-the-press". That featured as promotion in many papers in our primary and fringe market areas, such snappy promotion as: "HAMPTON BEACH! SAND, SUN, SEA, SUIT YOURSELF!" It appeared in such cities as Montreal, Hartford, New Haven, Providence, Worcester, Albany. Impressive. He says, "Our Hampton Beach Summer is jam-packed with action-events!" And he invited us to visit him soon for more news from the Chamber -- and we promised to do so.

But here's the message for The Fourth. Plenty of people have worked hard to welcome you to Hampton Beach '82. If you will see our Seacoast Almanac and study our ads with care -- you'll find your Fourth of July Weekend will jump!

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