Club House at Havana: Few If Any More Palatial than One at Oriental Park, Daily Racing Form, 1917-12-17


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CLUB HOUSE AT HAVANA . Few if Any More Palatial Than One at Oriental Park. Rendezvous of Cuban Society Conducted on Most Exclusive Lines- Lavish Decorations. Havana, Cuba, December 1G. With the possible exception of the far-famed home of the Argentine Jockey Club at Buenos Ayres, which has the reputation of being the finest in all the world, no race track in the western hemisphere can boast of a more palatial club house than that with which General Manager H. D. Drown has equipped the magnificent racing plant of the Cuba-American Jockey Club, at Marianao, one of the suburbs of this fascinating and picturesque city of nearly a half million inhabitants. And no club conducted as an adjunct to a race track, no matter where located, could be operated along more exclusive lines. Nobody but bona-fide members of the club and their invited guests are permitted to pass the portals of the magnificent structure which is the rendezvous of the most select society people of Havana and distinguished visitors from abroad while the racing season is on. The exclusiveness of the club is maintained by an arrangement under which all applicants for membership must pass the scrutiny and obtain the endorsement of a governing committee composed of some of tlie foremost residents of Havana. The native element and the American colony are both represented on this committee and the utmost care Is exercised to the end that objectionable persons may not be admitted to membership. The result is a social organization of the highest character that is playing no insignificant part in the upbuilding of racing here on an enduring basis as one of the greatest of the outdoor diversions of the Cuban people. And it may be remarked here that nowhere in the world doesi the .clubhouse contingent make a finer showinj; than at Oriental Park. Havana is justly celebrated "for the beauty of its women and the fastldiandusness of its men of the upper classes. Doth men and women appear to possess an intuitive taste in dress and personal adornment that gives them a distinction that is thoroughly characteristic and difficult to duplicate in any- part of America. It would not be easy to conjure up a-more alluring picture than that presented to the- eye by the clubhouse gatherings, particularly on Sundays and special occasions when the society element is present in full force. Those who have been privileged to witness similar gatherings in Paris and other European centers of fashion declare that Havana does not suiter by the comparison, although, of eourse, the local gatherings are on a smaller scale. The brilliancy of these assemblies of the wealth and fashion of Havana must really be seen to be appreciated, however, for no written description can adequately do them justice. President Menocal, who is now serving his second term as chief executive of Cuba, is honorary president of the club and W. W. Lawton, a prominent real estate man and society leader, is the active president. The membership of the club is composed of about one hundred of the leading residents of Havana. NO DUPLICATE OF CLUB HOUSE. The club house, while built in harmony with the Btyle prevailing in Cuba, lias no duplicate on the island. There are some fine structures devoted to similar purposes in Cuba, but none of similar arrangement. With the spacious verandas surrounding it on three sides, it covers a plot of ground adjoining the enormous grandstand, and connected with it by a promenade, some 150 by SO feet in extent. It is a two story structure, built of stone, with floors of tesselated tiling throughout and lofty ceilings. It is at present covered by a temporary roof, on account of the intention of manager Drown to add a third story, devoted to sleeping apartments, at some future time. The most striking feature of the structure is a majestic ball room and assembly hall, to which the greater part of the main floor is. devoted. The walls are in pure white, with red draperies and an exquisite effect is obtained by the lavish use of potted plants for decorative purposes, including the flaming poiusettias. which attain perfection in this climate. At either end of the ball room are reception rooms, one for the ladies and one for gentlemen. The room that is given over to the ladies is decorated in black and white hangings, with furniture to match and the effect is at once charming and restful. The lounging room for gentlemen Is comfortably equipped with willow furniture of tasty design in the utmost profusion. The floor below is given over to the dining room, the bar, the kitchen, toilet and service rooms. The dining room gives out upon the lawn facing the track, upon which are scattered canopied seats. The cuisine is supervised by a chef of international reputation. The veranda looking out upon the race track is equipped with forty commodious boxes, each capable of accomodating eight persons. The side verandas provide additional accomodations for some two hundred persons, so that five hundred can comfortably be taken care of on this level, aside from those on the inside. Manager Drown has done everything on a generous scale at Oriental Park and the club house is no exception to the general rule. In the center of the main veranda is an especially large box set aside for the exclusive use of President Menocal, who also has a similar box on the upper tier of the grandstand. The exterjor of the club house is decorated in white and green, with a dash of red. Flowers in innumerable variety and color make a perfect bower of beauty of the grounds. William Drock-way, the landscape gardner in charge, "was formerly In the employ of the Cuban government in a similar capacity. Frank Dacciocco of New York, well-known: to American racing men, has general supervision of the club house, which is at all times kept in a condition that is the admiration and euvy of those, who have similar establishments to manage.

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