Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Vilano Beach Casino

It always seems that historical marker signs tell us "A long time ago, something great once stood here, but it's gone now, sorry about your luck." And that's exactly how I felt after seeing this historical marker for the site where the Vilano Beach Casino once thrived on Vilano Key.

(A note here regarding the JSH Manual of Style: the island, strangely enough, actually has no name, but I cannot abide that and so refer to the island as "Vilano Key" or "Vilano Beach Key". There are people proposing it be called "San Pablo Island", but as of yet their efforts have gone unheeded by civic officials.)

The casino/resort, called Grand Vilano Casino, featured a salt-water swimming pool, a concept that intrigues me. The resort was destroyed by a storm and subsequent flooding in the summer of 1937. But before the remains of the place were demolished two years later, its ornate columns were saved and donated to the Florida Memorial College (now Florida Memorial University.) What I haven't been able to suss out in a cursory inquiry is whether the columns still stand at the University's original location in Live Oak, FL or if they were transported when the University moved to its present location in Miami Gardens.

Nowadays, there isn't much on the former casino's site - just the welcome center and pavilion, which are indeed quite pleasant, but man, I wish I could be hanging out at the casino now. Vilano Beach is already one of my favorite spots in the Sunshine State, and the idea that I missed out on this reportedly massive and luxurious resort in this lifetime really bites.

As Bruce Springsteen once wisely noted, though, "maybe everything that dies, one day comes back." I have certainty of it.


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