A part of the present-day building uses the main body of Can Fontanills, also known as Mas Vell. The shield of the Fontanills family can be seen on the door and window lintels, whose symbol is a fountain.
This 17th century building and the attached defence tower, which was square, still existed between 1876 and 1887, when the ‘School of Trade’ was established there, with classes taught by teacher Francesc Flos i Calcat.
Subsequently, the Casino Recreational and Cultural Society, founded in 1875, took the building and transformed it to the appearance it has today. Architect Bonaventura Bassegoda i Amigó designed this Modernista expansion in 1902, creating the café, rotunda, billiard and games rooms. The works were finished in 1904, with the opening of the theatre as an events hall, the most significant part of the overall project.
The polychrome stained glass windows are truly lovely, as well as the floor tiles and grilles, which bear the anagram of the owner at that time, Miquel Amat Lluch.
The main Casino developer was Pere Grau Maristany i Oliver, a merchant who exported wines to the Americas and was president of the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce. He was a generous patron for the municipality, collaborating with the founding of the municipal schools and the House of Charity, and was appointed Count of Lavern by King Alfonso XIII (1911).
The Casino became the meeting point for the well-to-do classes, primarily naval officers, but also for the Masnou and foreign bourgeoisie. With a strongly hierarchical structure, the grounds were closed to members, except during the ball during the patron saint festivals, when the doors were opened to the general public. The events held there included dances, concerts, theatre productions, operas, literary evenings... particularly the famous evening festivities for Santa Rosa.
At present, the Casino is a private cultural and recreational organisation.
Carrer de Barcelona, 1
Foto 1. Fotografia actual del Casino. Núria Duran. Fons documental: Museu Municipal de Nàutica del Masnou.
Foto 2. Detall de la façana. Núria Duran. Fons documental: Museu Municipal de Nàutica del Masnou.
Foto 3.Recreació històrica en 3D. Josep R. Casals. Fons documental: Museu Municipal de Nàutica del Masnou.
Foto 4. Inicis s. XX. Carles Orta. Fons documental: Arxiu Històric Municipal del Masnou.
Foto en text. Mas Fontanills. Desconegut. Fons documental: Llibre El Masnou abans del 2000, de Gerard Poch.