History of the Village Casino

The Casino and The Village Park's earliest history dates back to the early 1800's. Recently uncovered information indicates the Native American Tribes of New York State would meet where The Casino building is now located and partake in much food and firewater; dancing throughout the evening and into the wee hours of the morning. By the next day, the tribes would have reaffirmed their relationships for years to come.

In the early 1900's, steamships cruised up and down the lake, carrying tourists to the many great hotels that lined Bemus Point. The land for the Casino was purchased by a wealthy Pittsburgh entrepreneur, James Selden. Construction was started on The Casino in 1929, with the grand opening in May, of 1930. The first floor housed changing and dressing rooms, while the Casino Ballroom occupied the second floor.

The Casino Ballroom became famous for its big band concerts, and vaudeville acts throughout the 1930's and early 1940's. Many great entertainers graced the Casino stage, such as Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Cab Calloway, Lena Horne, and many more. A young band leader, named Ozzie Nelson, performed here, with his singer Harriet Hilliard. They, later, became the famous television stars, Ozzie and Harriet. Band leader, Harry James, and his orchestra also played the Casino, with a new young singer named Frank Sinatra! The Casino Ballroom has recently been updated, as a tribute to these many great performers.The ballroom is available for weddings, reunions, parties, conventions, and other events.

Throughout the fifties, sixties, and seventies, the Casino underwent many changes. It was utilized as a public beach facility, and even a bowling alley. In the 1980's, The Casino was established as a casual restaurant and pub, and became the entertainment capital of the area.Its stage was played by such successful groups as Rusted Root, and the 10,000 Maniacs. In 1982, The Casino broke The Guinness Book of World Records for the most wings served in a 24 hour period. The Casino's first and second floors were extensively remodeled in 1999, and leased to the current owner, the Carlson family.

We continue our commitment to be the area's best and most affordable in casual waterfront dining, with an environment that allows you to relax, enjoy, make new friends, and reacquaint with old friends! Let us make your time with us enjoyable & memorable!

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