A Brief History of the Tokeneke Club
Tokeneke was established in 1903 and named after a prominent Connecticut Native American chief. Located on a spit of land between Butlers and Contentment islands, a two-story waterfront bathhouse called the Casino was built.
In 1907, a formal deed of incorporation was signed, and the Tokeneke Club was born. Three years later a clubhouse was added to the Casino. It hosted a myriad of shows, concerts, clambakes, and water carnivals. In 1915, two tennis courts were installed.
Over the decades the Club has weathered fires, hurricanes, and nor'easters. Over time there have been six variations on the main Clubhouse, the addition of more tennis courts, and the installation of a 25-meter swimming pool with a diving area. The beachside cabanas were added in 1959, and a bathhouse was built in 1983.
Classic activities such as swimming, sailing, and tennis have been joined by paddle tennis, water polo, diving, and synchronized swimming. Entertainment has expanded to children’s camps and family movies, bonfires and BBQs on the beach, dinner dances, holiday events, Wimbledon breakfasts, and Sunday afternoons with jazz in the Breezeway.
Platform tennis arrived in 1968 when two portable courts were installed on the Club's parking lot. In 1978 a permanent home for four paddle courts was established at Ox Ridge Riding and Racquet Club. Tennis programs and a talented crew of tennis professionals from all over the world teach members each summer. The program’s dedicated leadership began with tennis pro George Cummings who sat at the helm for 30 years, followed by John Hammill in 1975 who led the team for 37 years, followed by Faycal Rhazali in 2013, a prodigy of Hammill's and an experienced tennis professional in Fairfield County, who continues on as our Racquets Director.
An ambitious building plan to replace the original 1932 club structure was initiated in 2007 and completed in 2016. The construction included a deck overlooking the tennis courts and Five Mile River, an expansion of office space, and a new septic system. The open Atrium and Breezeway offer fresh sea air and dramatic views for dinners, parties, weddings, and other events. A state-of-the-art retractable roof allows events to continue in inclement weather. The current Club and facilities are a joy to behold and will serve us well into our second century.
In 2017, we celebrated 110 years of history, memories, and fond recollections of special moments with family and friends. We have come a long way from our simple beginnings, but one thing has never changed: Tokeneke is, and always will be, a family club with emphasis on family fun. The cove echoes with the merriment and laughter of generations of club members who have spent their leisure hours, shared many talents, and made lifelong friendships here. We look forward to many more happy years on these “shining shores".
1. The Casino, 1908
2. The Casino and Clubhouse, 1910
3. Clubhouse with new construction, 1919
4. The Casino and Clubhouse after the fire, 1930
5. View of the reconstructed Club with individual bathhouses, 1938
6. New two-story cabana building and saltwater pool, 1959
7. New modern Clubhouse, 2016