Pleasure Fishing Incorporated stock certificate circa 1950 (Potomac River gambling)
Interesting piece of Virginia-Maryland history for Potomac River gambling. Unissued and not cancelled with a classic torch vignette. Incorporated in Virginia. Circa 1950 from company history.
The company operated off of Colonial Beach, VA. Anchored just beyond the low- water mark on the Potomac—the boundary between Virginia and Maryland—the vessel operated legally under Maryland jurisdiction, escaping Virginia's prohibition on gambling and sale of whisky by the drink.
The barge was abandoned and later bought to convert to a houseboat. The ghost gambling ship "Pleasure Island"— which once provided liquor by the drink and gambling to pleasure seeking patrons at Colonial Beach— started a new life. The 100-foot craft was been purchased by Charles L. Brockwell, a Richmond police lieutenant, who planned to convert the two-deck barge into a houseboat. "My wife and I are going to use the boat as our home," Brockwell said today. "In the Summer, we'll head out for salt water. In the Winter, we'll anchor in fresh water."
Brockwell said he paid "under $5,000" for the craft, reputedly more than 60 years old and formerly a floating machine barge for the United States Navy. The craft has laid idle in the Potomac River. It was owned by Pleasure Fishing, Inc., of Newport News until Brockwell bought it last month. The "Pleasure Island" came into the headlines in May. 1950, when it put into Colonial Beach, loaded with slot machines and whisky.
In 1957, the Saturday Evening Post highlighted Colonial Beach as "Las Vegas of the Potomac."
"In the 1950s, Colonial Beach in Virginia's Northern Neck was a notorious gambling hotbed, a wildly popular nightlife resort drawing revelers from throughout the region. The town had been a popular summer getaway for the urban set since the early 1900s. But when a quirk of geography let Colonial Beach take advantage of Maryland's slot machine laws, the resort went on a gaming spree that lasted nearly a decade."