Traces of the Top O’ Hill Terrace Casino Still Intact at Baptist College
Did you know that beneath a Texas Baptist College in Arlington, lies the remains of what was once the most opulent casino in the Northern Hemisphere?
My friend Bob Mauldin, looks for lost elements in Texas history and highlights them in his television show, Expedition Texas. This time he escapes through the Top O' Hill Terrace Casino escape tunnel after learning about the legendary illicit gaming hall.
Top O' Hill Casino in Arlington, TX is found beneath Arlington Baptist College located on a 37 acre campus. Bob met up with Author and Historian James Gatewood who takes Bob on a trip back in time explaining some of the hidden mysteries still intact.
Bob learns about technology that had been put in place at the gates, to alert patrons that the law was on the way. He claims that when triggered, the dice tables were configured so that they would flip to pool tables, and the roulette tables would be replaced by pool cues hanging on the walls.
Bob then heads inside where he meets the curator of the museum who describes Top O' the Hill as 'Vegas before Vegas.' While Bob is exploring the part of the museum which is housed in the original casino walls he's given a chance to crawl into a room unearth by maintenance when drilling, before exiting to the tea garden through the original escape tunnel.
When the police were on the way, guests would file into the tunnel and then escape out to the tea garden area where they would then take out hymnals and begin to sing.
After many raids led by Baptist preachers in the area, most notably J. Frank Norris who founded the college, the casino was shut down. Years later when the property was put up for sale the college purchased the property and turned it into an educational institution.
As a part of the Bankhead Centennial Celebration, the Top O'Hill Terrace casino will host an evening rich with history. Actors will portray characters from the casino's past, and guests will have an opportunity to see items not usually on display while hearing local historians speak about the building's past.