A Brief History of the Tokeneke Club

At the turn of the century a Darien real estate development named after a local Indian chief, Tokeneke, realized they needed a waterfront bathing facility to enhance their properties. In 1903, a two-story bathhouse called the Casino, was built on the spit of land between Butler and Contentment islands.

In 1907 a formal deed of incorporation was signed, and the Tokeneke Club was born. In 1910 a clubhouse was added to the Casino. In addition to bathing in the Sound, the club hosted myriad shows and concerts, clambakes, water carnivals and by 1915, two tennis courts were installed.

Over the years the Club has weathered fires, hurricanes and nor-easters. The membership has seen six variations on the main Clubhouse alongside with the building of nine tennis courts over time; the addition of a 25-meter swimming pool and diving well, and the beachside cabana building in 1959; a new bathhouse facility in 1983.

Many new activities have been added to keep up with changing times. 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, breakfast at Wimbledon and Sunday afternoon jazz in the Breezeway.

Platform tennis arrived in 1968 as two portable courts were installed on the tennis courts. It took until 1978 to find a permanent home for them at Ox Ridge Hunt Club. Tennis programs and a talented crew of tennis professionals from all over the world were led for 37 years by John Hammill, who retired in 2012. That same year Faycal Rhazali, an experienced tennis professional in Fairfield County, was hired as the Director of Racquets at the Tokeneke Club.

An ambitious building program to replace the original 1932 club structure was initiated in 2007 and completed in 2016. The construction included a new septic system, a deck overlooking the tennis courts and expanded office space. The large public area for dinners, parties, wedding and other events has a retractable roof to let in the sky view and fresh air of the beach. 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 joy 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 1910 Clubhouse
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 built in 1959
7. New modern clubhouse,  2016