Seaside Park Casino / The Cavalier Hotel
Along the Oceanfront
A Legend Lost in the Passage of Time
A fire in 1956 destroyed a major portion of the park. The Restaurant, Bath House and Picnic Pavilion were lost. Amenities included the Peacock Ballroom, Merry-Go-Round (Carousel), but many of the concessions and games survived the blaze. Although the park was greatly downsized by the fire, it continued to be a major attraction at the resort and operated until 1986. For nearly 75 years it served as a catalyst to the growth and development of the resort. And it provided an untold number of fond memories to the hundreds of thousands of folks who were lucky to experience a trip to the legendary Seaside Park.
Hold on to Your Hats, Folks!
A tunnel walk way led from Seaside Park's extensive bath house (changing facility) under the picnic pavilion and out to the beach. This photograph suggests that it might be a July 4th celebration with four American Flags flying in the brisk southeast breeze. The "Slide for Life" was a favorite ride of the day and the raised patio and walkway over the tunnel served as a popular observation point.
The favorite family amusement at Seaside Park was the "Merry-Go-Round." Climbing on to an ornately decorated wooden horse and spinning around and around, and up and down providing the entire family with lifelong happy memories.
A Living Legend Lives On
In 1924, the Virginia Beach Resorts and Hotel Corporation was formed with the express purpose to plan and build a new hotel. A community fund drive was held to raise money to build the hotel. Also, a public appeal went out to the local community to name the new hotel. It was decided by
The Cavalier welcomed its first guests in 1927 and by 1930 was considered one of the top resort destinations on the East Coast. Nine U.S. presidents have been guests, and scores of major celebrities (to many to list here) have enjoyed the accommodations of the Cavalier.
The Cavalier Beach Club opened in 1929 as part of the ongoing development of the resort. Over the ensuing 30 years, the Cavalier Beach Club greatly expanded its facility in size and hosted all the top names during the big-band era. During the summer months, the ever-popular Cavalier Tea Dance was held each afternoon.
The Virginia Beach Railroad and Improvement Company created the resort town of Virginia Beach in 1883 by building a rail line to the Oceanfront, thereby providing dependable and convenient access to the seashore for the first time. For 60 years, the railroad became the lifeblood for growth and development along the Oceanfront. Regular passenger service to the Oceanfront was suspended in 1943, as the automobile had become the primary mode of transportation. This poignant photo depicts the commemorative, final passenger trip that the Norfolk Southern Railroad made to Cavalier Station in 1943.
By 1930, the entire hotel complex of 260 acres included not only a Beach Club butalso a golf course, horse riding ring, indoor salt water swimming pool, ballroom, numerous dining rooms, spacious lounges and porches, and 200 guest rooms with all the "modern conveniences of the day." Amazingly, the Cavalier staff of 435 could accommodate 367 guests at the very most. The new hotel surely provided "everything a vacationing heart desired."
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Entertainment • Industry & Commerce • Parks & Recreational Areas.
Location. 36° 51.852′ N, 75° 58.801′ W. Marker is in North Virginia Beach in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Marker is on 36th Street just west of Atlantic Avenue, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 205 36th St, Virginia Beach VA 23451, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Ash Wednesday Storm (here, next to this marker); A Day at the Beach (here, next to this marker); The Winds of Change (here, next to this marker); The Princess Anne Hotel (a few steps from this marker); VB Now (a few steps from this marker); The Graveyard of the Atlantic (a few steps from this marker); Premier Boardwalk Events (a few steps from this marker); The Threshold of a New Nation (a few steps from this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in North Virginia Beach.
Credits. This page was last revised on January 20, 2021. It was originally submitted on January 20, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 40 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on January 20, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.
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