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Beginning in 1898, the guests of the Royal Poinciana Hotel and The Breakers were within walking distance of a major new attraction: Bradley’s Beach Club, a gambling casino and restaurant. Colonel Edward Riley “E. R.” Bradley and his brother, John “Jack” Bradley, built the Beach Club just north of today’s Flagler Memorial Bridge, on land purchased from then-State Senator Elisha Dimick. E. R. Bradley was most associated with the club and eventually bought out his brother.

Once Bradley decided to let women gamble, the venture prospered and became what many considered the world’s finest gambling casino. In the earlier years, roulette and hazard were the only games offered. Later chemin de fer was added, a variation of baccarat, with a $5,000 limit. Although gambling was illegal in Florida, the Beach Club circumvented that technicality by operating as a private club. Security was provided by men recruited from the Tennessee mountains.

The club was very simply decorated in green and white, with lighting that Bradley said flattered a woman’s comp- lexion more than harsh, bright lights.

In the dining room, which seated up to 212 people, Bradley wanted the best food, no matter what it cost. They ordered “most everything” from New York, said Bradley’s long-time secretary Tom Bohne, where chef Gene Braccho went each fall to collect menus from the best restaurants. The Beach Club then charged the highest New York prices plus ten cents, but still lost money on the dining room.

Drinking and smoking were not allowed in the gambling rooms, only in the dining room, where the headwaiter would oversee the consumption of alcohol. "It was difficult to control," said Bohne, especially during Prohibition, when diners brought their own beverages: “They would be called to the telephone [and Bradley would] meet ‘em and say, ‘Young man, you’re drinking a little heavy tonight. Come back tomorrow and everything will be settled.’ If the fella got unruly, he was out. But it was done in a nice manner.”

Bradley’s Beach Club: The Rules of the Game

Tom Bohne, secretary to E. R. Bradley, and self-described “overseer of everything” Harry Redifer, recounted just how exclusive the Beach Club was:

Only gentlemen were allowed membership. A woman had to be escorted at all times by a gentleman member. No one under 26 years old was permitted in the club, even in the dining rooms. Bradley’s logic was, a young man was likely to claim he was 22, thinking that 21 was required, so they would know he was not 26.

In the early years, Florida residents were restricted from the club, because they could be called to testify about the club’s activities. When this rule was relaxed, Bradley still did not want Palm Beach business owners as members, said Bohne: “People who came down from New York, opened a little store, they’d come in and gamble and lose their money. If they lost the store’s money, he’d give them back as much as two or three thousand. He didn’t want to take that kind of money.”

Bradley only wanted people to gamble who could afford to lose. Further, he wanted them to enjoy themselves. Bohne:

Many a time when the customer would win, why, he’d be tickled, he’d really be pleased, because so many would lose during the Season … anyway. If [a member] could get some pleasure out of it, extending his time at the table and being seen and enjoy passing checks back and forth, that was [Bradley’s] idea of entertainment. And that’s just what it was.

Bradley was well thought of by the residents of Palm Beach. James M. Owens called Col. Bradley, “one of the finest men I ever knew, whose word was just better than most people’s bond, and he contributed a great deal to the growth and development of Palm Beach and its beauty and loveliness.”

Avoiding the Law

Everyone seems to think, and he probably did, [E. R. Bradley] had to pay off officials, but I was with him 20 years and during that time, I could swear that I never saw him pay anyone a penny of [bribery]. Yes, he was raided several times, but they was [sic] always tipped off and he had everything hid away, and … the guests would sit down and drink tea at the tables. … And they would all join in the fun while the inspector from the governor’s office would go around and search the place—not too methodically, but search the place. The [gambling] tables all folded up and looked like a tea table when they took the layout off of them. Harry Redifer built the [hiding] places for them.

Tom Bohne
Secretary to E. R. Bradley

St. Edward

E. R. Bradley’s secretary, Tom Bohne, recalled that his employer, a Catholic, supported every local church, and repeated a story from Palm Beacher Charlie Ward:

The Methodist church was in need of an organ. Somebody had bought the organ for them but in the meantime, they’d lost their money and they couldn’t get it out of storage. So [Judge] E.B. Donnell … went to Mr. Bradley and said, “It’ll take $2,000 to get this organ out of hock and the church needs it pretty badly.” Mr. Bradley gave Donnell the $2,000 and he got the organ and installed it. Charlie tells that later the minister was up on the altar and was delivering a tirade against gambling and mentioned the Beach Club specifically. So Charlie went around the back of him and said, “Now listen, Reverend … I’m a member of your congregation, I pay my dues, I contribute what I can afford. One thing I can’t stand for, you have Col. Bradley’s music in the back of your church, and you blast him in the front of the church.”

From an interview on file at the HSPBC.

Invited Guests

Secretary Thomas Tipton “T. T.” Reese was an early Beach Club employee who had come to Palm Beach with the railroad and worked at the Royal Poinciana Hotel. In 1962 Reese’s son T. T. Reese, Jr. related childhood memories of Col. and Mrs. Bradley, who lived in a large stone house on the north side of the club:

I had a little stand down there, I mean a few packing boxes, and I used to sell fruit and flowers and coconuts and things right in front of the club. Colonel Bradley let me do that, y’know. And Auntie [Agnes] Bradley, of course, his wife, she was a wonderful lady. Every afternoon about 5:00, we’d close up the little packing boxes and get ‘em all bundled up and put ‘em in the wagon to take home, and she’d invite us up to the house to have … Baked Alaska [and] macaroons [from Majewski’s Bakery on Clematis Street]. And we’d sit there in the living room, y’know, dirty little kids, barefooted as yard dogs, on beautiful rugs.

Colonel Edward Riley Bradley (December 12, 1859 – August 15, 1946) was an American steel mill laborer, gold minerbusinessman and philanthropist. As well as a race track proprietor, he was the preeminent owner ad  breeder of Thoroughbred racehorses in the Southern United States during the first three decades of the 20th Century. Testifying before a United States Senate committee in April 1934, Bradley identified himself as a "speculator, raiser of race horses and gambler." He made the cover of TIME magazine on May 7, 1934. In the year 2000, the Florida Department of State honored him as one of their Great Floridians.

Born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania[2] of Irish descent. His ancestors were from DraperstownCounty Londonderry, then in Ireland. At age fourteen, Edward Bradley was working as a roller in a steel mill[2] before heading for Texas in 1874 to work on a ranch. During the Wild West era, legend says that he traveled about, working as a cowboy, a scout for General Nelson A. Miles during the Indian War campaigns, and was a friend of Wyatt Earp and considered Billy the Kid to be bad news.


Gaming businesses

Whatever the myths may be, Bradley did in fact become successful as a gambler and eventually established a bookmaking partnership that served horse racing bettors at race tracks in Hot Springs, ArkansasMemphis, Tennessee and in St. Louis, Missouri where he married local girl, Agnes Cecilia Curry. He eventually went to ChicagoIllinois where he would own a hotel, and probably a sports betting operation, and maintain business interests for the remainder of his life.

By 1891, Bradley had accumulated considerable wealth. Bradley moved to St. Augustine in 1891 where he worked in real estate. In 1898, he moved him to build the Beach Club on Lake Worth Lagoon in Palm Beach. The exclusive restaurant and private gambling casino made him wealthy and he would expand operations to New Orleans, Louisiana with the opening of the Palmetto Club.


Edward Bradley and his wife Agnes had no children, but donated money to orphanages. Annually in the fall, they held a racing day at Idle Hour Farm to raise money that was donated to various orphanages. They provided funding to various charitable causes such the Good Samaritan Medical Center and St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach.

His wife died in 1926 and Bradley bequeathed much of their Palm Beach property and personal residence to the city on the condition the land be used as a public park. Seven and 3/4 acres of lakefront property were bequeathed to St. Ann's parish along with the wish that it be used as a school for girls. The school that opened in 1926 was named St-Ann-on-the-Lake in honor of Bradley's wife, although later it changed its name to Rosarian Academy. Honored in 2000 as one of its "Great Floridians" by the Florida Department of State, his Great Floridian commemorative plaque is located at E.R. Bradley's Saloon at 104 Clematis Street in West Palm Beach.

Edward R. Bradley died at Idle Hour Stock Farm on August 15, 1946 at age 86. He was buried next to his wife in Lexington's Calvary Cemetery.

The Palm Beach Post    Thursday, Dec. 19, 1946

John R. Bradley Tells Plans For Razing Old Beach Club

By Emilie Keyes Post-Times Staff

        Plans for razing the old Beach Club building next summer and transforming the grounds into a lake front park that will eventually revert to the Town of Palm Beach were revealed Wednesday by John R. Bradley, brother of the late Col. Edward R. Bradley, on his arrival at the Breakers Hotel, where he will spend several weeks.

      Mr. Bradley, co-owner with his brother of the properties in question, also revealed that his will provides that his half of the lake frontage shall be bequeathed to the Town of Palm Beach.  Col. Bradley, who died Aug. 15, left his half to his brother, during the latter's lifetime and to the town thereafter.

        "Town ordinances prohibit demolition proceedings in the season," Mr. Bradley explained, "so that nothing will get underway until next spring or summer, but I should like to see the property beau-tified and plan to start the work and if anything should happen to me before it can be completed my son will carry on."

         Despite a life of many interests and travels that have taken him far afield, Mr. Bradley has maintained his Florida residence and spent considerable time here.  This season he will stay at the Breakers, where he will be joined for Christmas by his wife, but he plans to add a kitchen to his brother's house house, which was serviced from the Beach Club during the colonel's lifetime, and to occupy it subsequently.

        Amazingly youthful at 80, Mr. Bradley bears witness to the effects of the outdoor life he has always loved.  At his ranch in Colorado Springs, he rides daily, a sport he doesn't fell is well suited to the Florida background.  Even his grandchildren insist on thoroughbred saddle horses at an early age instead of ponies, he said.

        Just as the breeding of race horses was the great love of his brother's life, big game hunting was his.

       "When we were kids," he explained, "he was always riding any horse he could get his hands on. I was out shooting wildcats."

        Mr. Bradley's adventures ranged from pioneering in Florida to safaris in darkest Africa.  He advised Teddy Roosevelt on clothing and equipment for his big game hunting in Africa, based on personal experiences.  His expeditions took him from Indo-Chino to Alaska, and the last big one was to the Arctic in 1907.  Though he maintained he was going polar bear hunting, the trip had far greater significance for aboard the ship, the "John R. Bradley" he took Dr. F. A. Cook bound for two years of explorations that led to the famous controversy with Robert Edwin Peray as to who reached the North Pole.

        Ask Mr. Bradley who really discovered the Pole, he'll tell you it was his men in no uncertain terms; brand the whole argument a newspaper fight, and cite reasons why he knows it was Cook.

        In 1908 he married and stopped wandering.  He'd seen all the strange places he wanted to explore, had collected enough trophies for both himself and museums.  He's an honorary member of both the American Museum of Natural History and the New York Zoological Society, has aided in assembling several outstanding collections.

        Among the many activities occupying him at the moment is the settlement of his brother's estate, for which he is executor.  And among the duties involved in this position, one is the distribution of certain moneys and personal effects for educational, religious and charitable purposes, left to his discretion in a memo from his brother.

        In this connection on his arrival here Wednesday he approved the gift of the baby grand piano from the Beach Club to the Palm Beach Private School as suggested by Mrs. Barry Shannon, when she was apprised of the school's need for one.

The Tampa Tribune,  Tuesday,  March 9, 1915    Page 2



Prominent Railroader fined For Failure to Appear Before the Grand Jury to Testify

PALM BEACH, Fla.,  March 8 -- No indictment were returned today by the grand jury against John R. Bradley and Edward Bradley, proprietors of the Beach Club here, charged with conducting a gambling establishment.  The Bradleys were released on bail after their arrest Friday night in connection witha raid on the club.  The grand jury immediately began investigation.  A nimber of witesses, including a private detective said to have been employed by Gov-ernor Trammell of Florida, was examined.  It was stated that no gambling devices were found.

      James M. Schoonmaker of Pittsburg, vice-president of the Pittsburg & Lake Erie Railroad, and A. H. Gleason of New York, who subpoenaed to testify at the grand jury, were fined $25 each for failure to appear.  Other witnesses summoned included John F. Fitzgerald, former Mayor of Boston, and his brother, H. S. Fitz-gerald: Charles I. Cragin, banker of Philadelphia; H. S. Black of New York, Thomas D. Shevlin of Minneapolis, former Yale football star, and other men prominent in various parts of the country.      

News-Press,  Fort Myers, Florida    Monday, January 3, 1938  Page 4

Views Of Other Editors


     Gov. Fred Cone, the headlines are screaming, has "cracked down" on the East Coast gambling resorts.  Rumors say that he has, in a personal letter to Sheriff Hi Lawrence, mentioned Bradley's Casino by name.  Sheriff Hi is quoted as saying that he has no "personal knowledge" of gambling at Bradley's.

     You can't arrest a person on what others tell you," says he.  And besides, he doesn't think there are any such joints in the county.

     The worst of it is that the Sheriff of Palm Beach county is right, legally speaking, so far as Bradley's is concerned.  No residents of Florida are admitted to the casino; according to tradition all players must have at least a million dollars worth of property, and there never was a plainclothesman in the world who could look, dress or act like a million dollars.  

     If all these people who howl about law enforcement would be willing to sign a complaint personally, it would be easier to enforce unpopular legislation, but ever since the days when tey burned witches, the self-righteous lads have, in the main, fought shy of signing complaints.

     Governor Cone and every other Governor Florida has ever had knows pretty certainly that there is gambling going on in Bradley's casino.  The wealthy residents and winter colonists want it, and they're going to have it.  The governor will "crack down" on a lot of smaller fry, maybe, but any reference to Bradley's is pure grandstand.  Other governors have made the same play, one of whom. we recall from our days in Palm Beach, was a little later in the season, an honored guest at Mr. Bradley's club, which then and probably now went under the simple style of the Country Club.

     Same old wooden barn-like building, doubtless, still serving the best food in America, but no drinks (unless you count champagne or such trifles with the dinners, but never during the play) and still guarded by sharpshooters with high powered rifles.  We remember  (during the palmy republican days,) how one postmistress was fired for inefficiency

because she refused to open up the stamp window after hours for some guy in a Rolls-Royce, who really was as important as he claimed.  Governor Fred can't even play in the back yard at Bradley's and we doubt if a cop ever got inside the font door -- Winter Haven Herald

GAMBLING RAID MADE ON PALM BEACH CLUB; Bradley Brothers Arrested as Proprietors -- Prominent Men Subpoenaed as Witnesses. GAMBLING RAID AT PALM BEACH

Special to The New York Times.MARCH 7, 1915

PALMS BEACH, Fla., March 6. -- After having withstood for twenty-seven years insinuations that they were operating a gaming room in the Beach Club at this resort, John and Edward Bradley, who live at the Biltmore when in New York and are known the world over in sporting circles, are under arrest for the first time in their lives, charged before the Grand Jury here with promoting gambling

Palm Beachers were “aflutter” when they awakened in March 1915 to read this headline, the subject of national news. Although no gambling paraphernalia was found during the raid, a grand jury was convened to investigate a private investigator’s allegation that Bradley’s was one of the nation's largest gambling operations. None of the club’s fifteen prominent “members” ever responded to subpoenas, including John “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald, Rose Kennedy’s father who was a close friend of the Bradley brothers who had been coming to Palm Beach since 1900. Shortly thereafter, “… the whirr of the roulette table, the rattle of chips and the voices from the dealers could once again be heard at Bradley’s …”

The Inter Ocean, (Chicago, Illinois)  Sunday, March 31, 1912,  Page31

By Karl K. Kitchen


     This is a story of what I saw in one night in the greatest wide-open gambling establishments in the United Sates.

     The Place is the Beach Club, commonly known as Bradley’s at Palm Beach, Fla. The most luxurious Temple of Chance on this side of the Atlantic,  It bears the same relation to Palm Beach that the Casino does in Monte Carlo.  It is an approved part of the general scheme.

     Though gambling is wide open, there is not even a blot of interference by the state authorities.

     Why?  Palm Beach is owned by Henry M. Flagler—so is most of the state of Florida.  Like Monaco, the popularity of Palm beach is supposed to depend upon the prosperity of its gambling establishment.  It is generally reported that “Bradley’s” makes a net profit of half a million a year, which is not bad, considering that it is open only three months out of twelve.

     John R. Bradley, hunter of big game and backer of Dr. Cook, is the man who operates this establishment.

     Hot springs, Ark, French Lick, and Palm Beach are the three resorts in America where there is wide-open gambling for both men and women, free from all interferances by the state and local authorities,  But the games at Hot Springs and French Lick are for pikers.  At Palm Beach they are for millionaires or for those who can live like millionaires for a few days in that delightful spot.  It is a place where pikers can’t pike.

     It was 10 o’clock at night when I arrived in Palm Beach, and with other New Yorkers I hastily donned evening clothes and hurried to the Beach Club.

     Evening dress is the strict rule at “Bradley’s” after 7 p.m.  But that said “twenty-five years of age” are practically the only requirements—except a bank roll.  If one is faultlessly attired and “looks good” to Mr. Reese, the secretary of the “club” he is admitted without question.

     To be sure he is given a membership ticket and a little book of rules, but there are no dues, and member-ship only entitles you to risk your money.

     When I received my membership card I passed from the lobby of the club building—a two story structure—late the main gambling room and to an atmosphere of pink lit fairy lamps and perfumed frou-frou.  I found myself in the presence of perhaps two hundred men and handsomely gowned women grouped around six roulette and two bazaar tables in a beautiful octagonal room.

     From the appearance of the crowd one would suppose they were attending an evening function at a fashionable Fifth avenue home.  They were equally as numerous as the men, and their gowns were as elaborate as one would see at a Caruso night at the Metropolitan.  Most of them were ablaze with diamonds.

     Every person in the room except the black-coated croupiers seemed to have an aura of luxury—not merely the luxury of wealth but the luxury of its possession for at least two generations. 

     The men were gentlemen, the women their wives and daughters.  There were no touts, barkeepers, no vacationists, horsemen with pasts or girls from the chorus.  The Beach Club is no place for such people.  If by chance they do pet in, they are asked to leave the moment they are spotted—and when a “member” is asked to leave, there is no argument.

     The game was at the height when I was told by E. R. Bradley, bother of John R.  and the president of the  “club,”  to make myself at home.  I turned to the roulette table, nearest at hand.  A handsome moan of fifty-five or sixty—one of the leading lawyers in New York—and two young women, his nieces, were betting hundred-dollar bill, while three or four others who were seated at the table were playing with five and ten dollar chips.

     Later in the evening, when the crowd thinned out, the son of a famous Secretary of the Navy was playing at the same table with $500 bills, and rumor had it that he dropped $30,000 in less than an hour.

     It is well to keep in mind that this is not a story of Monte Carlo.  It concerns Palm Beach, the Mecca of fashionable New York for three months of the year.  San Francisco in its early chuck-a-luck days was never more open.  Canfield’s at Saratoga had a Puritanical atmosphere compared with the life and gayety at the Beach Club..

     There are gambling houses in New York today—I was in one less than a month ago—but the games are behind barred doors, no women are admitted and, further-rmore, there is little playing.  People don’t play roulette in New York since Chief Flynn’s raids showed that most of the wheels were crooked.  But at Palm Beach there is no suggestion of crookedness.

     People in Palm Beach do not play to win.  They play for amusement, because it is fashionable, because they have more money than they know what to do with.  What if they do drop half a million in three months?  They have had a good time.

     Think of it!  Eight gambling tables running full time, with an unlimited bank roll behind each and surrounded by the richest and most fashionable men and women in America!

     The “Club” opens at noon. In addition to the games of chance it contains a restaurant where the most fashionable eat lunch and dine.  Prices in the restaurant are about twice as high as at the Waldorf, hence it is the rendezvous of fashion.

Business, as the play is called< begins immediately after luncheon.  The croupiers are always on hand.  They live in a house by themselves near the club and are not allowed to mingle with the guests at the hotels.

     As a rule not more than three or four tables are running in the afternoon.  It is usually p o’clock before the club is crowded and everything is in full swing.

     At that time the diners at the club have finished dinner and the crowd from the hotels starts over in wheeled chairs.  Sometimes the crowd is so great that it fills the club to overflowing.  People stand three deep around the tables waiting for a player to leave so that  they can try their luck.  At every table there are twenty or thirty standees, for many visit the club merely to look on.

     Considering the multitude, part of which is continually moving, there is surprisingly little noise.  In fact, the most profound tranquility prevails; scarcely a word is spoken.  You might imagine yourself in a church, such stillness reigns.

     The spinning of the marble alone breaks the silence.  When it falls, the croupier indicates the winning number by pointing to the board, sweeping in the chips and money and paying the winners without a word.  Chips, paper as well as gold and silver money can be bet.  The lowest is 50 cents; the highest $500.

     Of course the player is at liberty to bet on as many different chances as he desires.  Unlike the roulette wheels at Monte Carlo, the wheels at “Bradley’s” have two zeros.  At Monte Carlo when zero appears, the bank leaves the simple chances on the board for the next play.  If If this adverse to the bank, your stake is liberated, otherwise the bank claims it; but there is no chance like this at Bradley’s.

     While the game is running, E. R. Bradley moves silently around from table to table, paying winners from a fat wallet containing scores oif $50, $100 and $500 bills.

     There is no drinking in the gambling room.  In the restaurant, however, there is a continuous popping of champagne corks until 2 in the morning, when most of the “members” leave for the hotels.

     Few woo the fickle goddess according to a system.  Nearly all the players trust to simple luck.  For them it’s only recreation—excitement they can’t find in New York or anywhere else in America.

     Now and then a sporty millionaire or plunger appears on the scene—usually with a stack of $500 bills.  The “club” keeps open all night for him.  Sometimes reports get around that $25,000 or $35,000 has been won or lost by players of this type.

     It is common gossip that a New York politician lost $26,000 there in one evening and that he took it so badly that he was given a percentage on the wheel in order to make it up.   He has a cottage in Palm Beach, but now is barred from the club.

     Practically everyone who visits Palm Beach visits “Bradley’s.” so it would be impossible to give the names of those who play.  I saw two Supreme Court Judges, a dozen prominent lawyers, bankers, capitalists and society men the evening I spent in the gambling room.  Most of them were accompanied by their wives.

     At Palm Beach women can woo the fickle goddess with impunity.  No social stigma is attached to it,  Yet, in New York they would be common gamblers!

     There is little danger that the state of Florida will close the Beach Club while Henry M. Flagler is alive.  He knows what it means to Palm Beach and Florida knows what Palm Beach means to the state.


Remodeled during the 1980s, Bradley Pavilion is the only structural fragment remaining of Pleasant View, Col. Bradley’s house that was attached to the Beach Club. Across the street to the north, Jack Bradley built a Dutch Colonial-style house, known as Villa Sonia, later owned by the Louis Kaufmans. Harold S. Vanderbilt lived next door to Jack Bradley until Vanderbilt bought Mizner’s El Solano on South Ocean Boulevard.

Ten years after the Royal Poinciana Hotel was demolished, the Beach Club was torn down, leaving only the vestige from Bradley’s house and this plaque, commemorating one of Palm Beach’s most unique landmarks.

In 1891, three years after Flagler opened the Ponce de Leon Hotel, pictured above, the Bradley brothers introduced casino-style gambling to Florida when they moved their Club Bacchus dine-and-dice operation from Chicago to a St. Augustine cottage on the corner of Cordova and Treasury Streets. “When the Bradleys moved on to Palm Beach, my father moved the Ponce family-owned funeral home into the Bacchus Club’s former location,” said historian Jim Ponce.

Bradley Pavilion features a unique pagoda-style mantle.

In 1896 Colonel Edward Riley Bradley (1859-1946) was reported to be in Palm Beach scouting locations to establish a private dining-and-gaming club similar to his St. Augustine venue.

Eventually, Col. Bradley, as he was known as an honorary Kentucky colonel, bought a lakeside cottage directly north of Flagler’s Royal Poinciana Hotel, or the “Pounce-On-Em Hotel” as some locals called it. It became the island’s most exclusive and popular diversion, giving Palm Beach a much-needed cachet. 

Offering haute French cuisine and open only to seasonal out-of-state residents, much of Bradley’s operational formula appears to have been modeled after Canfield’s Casino in Saratoga, both establishments becoming widely-known during their time as the “Monte Carlo of America.”

Col. Bradley and Jack Bradley incorporated The Beach Club with Thomas “Tip” Reese, a formidable Palm Beach presence who supervised much of the club’s operation when the Bradleys were away, especially membership. Tip Reese was also the first treasurer of the Everglades Club. After its inaugural year, escorted women were permitted, making it the first place in the United States where women gambled at the same tables with men.

The Bradley Homes in Palm Beach
               Villa Sonia and Pleasant View

This view faces North Lake Trail

Villa Sonia, Sunset Avenue. (John R. Bradley House, then Louis G Kaufman house.) After purchasing their lakeside villa in 1920, the Kaufmans bought the adjacent property, Afterglow Cottage, owned by Harold Vanderbilt, demolishing it, thus extending their estate the entire block of Sunset Avenue from Lake Way to Lake Worth.  Located next door to te Biltmore - Demolished

Villa Sonia, corner North Lake Trail and Sunset Avenue.  This view faces Sunset

Villa Sonia, foreground, with Hotel Alba to the north, along North Lake Trail.

Pleasant View (Right) Col. Bradley Home.  Villa Sonia (Center) John R. Bradley home 

Beach Club (Center) with Pleasant View - Col. Bradley's home to the left - Facing Lake Trail

Villa Sonia - Side entrance facing south on Sunset Avenue



DARBY DAN FARM was formed from the core of the famed IDLE HOUR STOCK FARM owned by E.R. Bradley, who first buried horses here. Previous to this, the farm was known as Ash Grove Stock Farm and was home to the great trotting sire GEORGE WILKES, who is said to have been buried on the property in an unmarked grave. Bradley honored his foundation stallion BLACK TONEY with a statue over his grave, which remains today, located near the stallion barns. Bradley also buried his Kentucky Derby winner BUBBLING OVER here, and the mare BLOSSOM TIME (dam of the top class BLUE LARKSPUR). The farm is also probably the site of burial of Bradley's first winner, FRIAR JOHN (1895), who was still alive as a pensioner in 1926 and was promised a final place to rest on Idle Hour, although his date of death is unknown. Idle Hour stallion *NORTH STAR III, who died in 1935, is probably also buried here. Bradley also bred the Kentucky Derby winner Brokers Tip, who is buried at the Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchill Downs, Louisville.

Upon the death of Bradley in 1945, IDLE HOUR was sold and broken up into smaller farms. The parcel on the southern side of Old Frankfort Pike was sold to King Ranch, which owned it into the 1980s, and is now known as Old Frankfort Place where Bradley-bred BLUE LARKSPUR is buried. A southern parcel became Danada Farm, which is now Mare Haven Farm. The core of the farm, on the north side of Old Frankfort Pike, was for a short time known as Circle M Farm, owned by Charles W. Moore. Moore stood BLUE SWORDS, who died here in 1955. 

Daniel W. Galbreath purchased the property and renamed it DARBY DAN FARM. Later, Darby Dan horses were also laid to rest here and include the great Italian champion RIBOT, as well as his sons, the good stakes winners and sire brothers GRAUSTARK and HIS MAJESTY. Galbreath's homebred ROBERTO won the Derby at Epsom and became a leading international sire. Other Darby Dan burials include the good stakes winners SUMMER TAN and GOOD COUNSEL, and the broodmares DARBY DUNEDIN and FLOWER BOWL (dam of GRAUSTARK and HIS MAJESTY).

Darby Dan Farm also has a division near Columbus, Ohio, the home of it's owner, Daniel Galbreath. Some of the farm's pensioners were brought to the Ohio farm to live out their days, including the great runner and producer PRIMONETTA, Champion Handicap Mare of 1962 and Broodmare of the Year in 1978, and QUEEN'S PARADISE, dam of champion filly TEMPEST QUEEN. -- A.P.



Known Ash Grove Stock Farm Burials


George Wilkes (trotter)

Known Idle Hour Stud Farm Burials


Black Toney (c. 1911-1938, statue)
Bubbling Over (c. 1923-1938)Blossom Time (f. 1920-1946)

Known Circle M. Farm Burials


Blue Swords (c. 1940-1955)

Known Darby Dan Farm Burials


Graustark (c. 1963-1988)
His Majesty (c. 1968-1995)
Ribot (c. 1952-1972)
Roberto (c. 1969-1988)
Summer Tan (c. 1952-1969)
Good Counsel (c. 1968-1987)Darby Dunedin (f. 1942-1962)
Flower Bowl (f. 1952-1968)s

Known Darby Dan Farm Burials: Columbus, Ohio, Division


Primonetta (f. 1958-1993)
Queen's Paradise (f. 1969-1994)


Thoroughbred horse racing

In 1898, Edward Bradley purchased his first race horse which quickly led to the acquisition of others. In 1906, he bought Ash Grove Stock Farm, a 400-acre (1.6 km2) property near Lexington, Kentucky which he renamed Idle Hour Stock Farm. This became the leading Thoroughbred breeding operation in the American South and added greatly to the rise of Kentucky as the most important horse breeding state in America and the Kentucky Derby as the country's premier race.

At Idle Hour Stock farm, Bradley built first class stables and breeding and training facilities. Bradley introduced the fibre skullcap worn by jockeys and as a racetrack owner made improvements to the starting gates.  All of his horses were given a name that began with the Bradley "B". His stallion Black Toney, purchased from James R. Keene in 1912, became the farm's first important sire. In December 1930, Bradley purchased the French mare La Troienne, who had been consigned by owner Marcel Boussac to the Newmarket, England Sales.

Over the years, Bradley's horses were conditioned for racing by several trainers such as Willie Knapp and Edward Haughton, but William A. "Bill" Hurley and future U.S. Racing Hall of Fame trainer Herbert J. Thompson met with the most success.

Bill Hurley trained Kalitan, who won the  1917 Preakness Stakes, and Bagenbaggage,  who won the 1926 Latonia and Louisiana  Derbys  and  was  second  to  Bradley's own  Bubbling Over  in the Kentucky Derby.  Hurley  won  the 1935 Florida DerbyCoaching Club American Oaks and American Derby with the great filly and 1991 Racing Hall of Fame inductee Black Helen. Another of Bill Hurley's important Hall of Fame horses was Bimelech, who earned U.S. Champion 2-Yr-Old Colt and 3-Year-Old honors in 1939 and 1940 respectively, and just missed winning the U.S. Triple Crown when he finished second in the 1940 Kentucky Derby, then won both the Preakness and Belmont Stakes.

Herbert Thompson trained Bradley horses that won numerous important stakes race including four Kentucky Derbys, two of which were the first ever back-to-back wins by a trainer or by an owner. Thompson won one of the Derbys with Burgoo King in 1932, who also won that year's Preakness Stakes. The most important horse Thompson trained for Edward Bradley was Blue Larkspur. The colt won the 1929 Belmont Stakes and was voted United States Horse of the Year honors and in 1930, U.S. Champion Older Male Horse.

Edward Bradley's wins in the American Classic Races were as follows:

Kentucky Derby

Preakness Stakes

Belmont Stakes

Edward Bradley raced horses at Arlington Park in Chicago as well as in New York, where Thoroughbred racing flourished at several race tracks near New York City and on Long Island. In addition to two wins in the prest-igious Belmont Stakes, his horses won other important New York area races such as the:

Bradley was given the honorific title of Kentucky Colonel by the Governor.

Race track ownership

Bradley was an owner of the Palmetto Club in New Orleans, Louisiana, which serviced a betting clientele for local horse races. In 1926, Edward Bradley purchased the Fair Grounds Race Course. In 1932, after making a substantial investment in Joseph E. Widener's new Hialeah Park Race Track near Miami, Florida,

The "Colonel E.R. Bradley Handicap" is named in his memory and is raced annually in January at the Fair Grounds Race Course. In 1971, he was part of the inaugural class of inductees into the Fair Grounds Racing Hall of Fame.

More about that Horseracing thing...

At the end of the 19th century, Col. Edward Riley Bradley - a self-proclaimed gambler, bookmaker, and owner-manager of several casinos - Informed by His physician was a more outdoor lifestyle That Might Be His beneficial to health.


Something as easy as taking walks or hikes Might Have done the trick, but This was much too slow-paced for Bradley. In His Mind, The most sensible thing to do was start a racing stable, Where Could I benefit from outdoor living Simultaneously while building an empire in a sport deeply intertwined With gambling. What a picture-perfect scenario!

Born on Dec. 12, 1859, Bradley was not really a colonel. , Although I partook in many different enterprises and activities During His younger days, military life was not Among them. The "colonel" was part of His Name whos an honorary title; I was a classic "Kentucky Colonel." Thanks to His achievements in horse racing, I Also Kentucky became a legend.


Having made the decision to delve into horse racing, Bradley - like many other successful sportsmen of the time - wasted little time buying up talented horses, Hundreds of acres of land and some quality broodmares to Establish a racing stable and breeding farm. Forty years later, I HAD irrevocably changed the sport of horse racing for the better, and the legacy of His breeding farm extends to this day.

In 1898, Bradley bought his first horse and in 1906 purchased Ash Grove Stock Farm near Lexington, Ky., and renamed it Idle Hour Stock Farm. Bradley developed Idle Hour into one of America’s leading breeding operations. He was given the honorary title of a Kentucky colonel by the state’s governor for his contributions to Kentucky’s prosperity.


Under the name of Idle Hour Stock Farm, Bradley bred more than 125 stakes winners from 1906 Through 1946, but it was the quality of These horses - and the quality of one broodmare in private - That had a lasting impact on the sport.


One of the first successful horses raced Bradley That was a tough-as-nails gelding by the name of Bad News. As a result of That success, Bradley Began the tradition of choosing names only That Began With horses the letter "B" for his. One Would Have Thought That Eventually Bradley would run out of names, but This was far from the case-while I did Eventually Have to use names like Bee Mac, Bric a Bac, Bymeabond, Bug Juice, and Bee Ann Mac, His creativity ensured That I never ran out of names. As a side effect, all of the best horses bred and raced've ever had "B" names. These included Bimelech, an unbeaten champion 2-year-old colt won the WHO later Preakness and Belmont Stakes; Blue Larkspur, WHO won four of six starts in 1929 en route to Being Recognized as Horse of the Year; and Busher, WHO beat ills on multiple occasions to Become One of only 12 fillies or seas That Have Been Recognized as a US Horse of the Year.

Some of Bradley's greatest Successes meat in the Kentucky Derby, a race That I dominated in the 1920s and 1930s. I won the race four times (as Both owner and breeder) During That timeframe, and - incredibly - His horses swept the first two finishing positions on two occasions. Interestingly, the best-Remembered of Bradley's Derby winners was the Least Accomplished as a racehorse: Brokers Tip won just one race in 14 career starts, but Had the good sense to make it count by scoring A Nose victory in the 1933 Kentucky Derby. Even still, it's very likely That I would be long forgotten if not for the fact That His jockey and the jockey of runner-up Head Play engaged in a fight down the homestretch in Which They Grabbed each other's silks and boots and even struck at each As They battled other for command of the race. Brokers Tip crossed the wire in front and, after an inquiry, the results Were left as posted.


But as Mentioned above, Bradley's greatest impact on the sport would come through one broodmare. At the end of 1930, Bradley Purchased a 4-year-old filly by the name of * La Troienne from a sale in Europe. As a racehorse, she HAD failed to win in seven starts, but the daughter of Teddy had a quality pedigree Suggested That Could she be a valuable brood-mare. In the end, she PROVED to be much more than that. She produced five stakes winners That included the Bradley's champions Black Helen and Bimelech, but her daughters PROVED to be even more successful, and founded an epic, wide-spreading family of descendants That includes Affectionately, Allez France, Buckpasser, Easy Goer, Go for Gin, Mineshaft, More Than Ready, Pleasant Tap, Princess Rooney, Sea Hero, Smarty Jones and many other standouts.


Bradley passed away in 1946, and the majority of His horses Were Purchased by fellow racehorse breeders John Hay Whitney, Robert Kleberg, Jr., and Ogden Phipps. That group extended the legacy of Bradley's empire by breeding many champions of Their Own His quality from stock. To this day, breeders and racing fans alike still value the descendants of Bradley's horses, Particularly Those That descend from * The Troienne. His farm May be gone, but Bradley's legacy lives on.


- See more at:


The Palm Beach Post,  Thursday, October 31, 1946,   Page 7


     LEXINGTON, KY., (AP) --  Suit was brought in Federal District Court here Wednesday to prevent the sale of the late E. R. Bradley's Idle Hour Farm in Fayette County to a "syndicate" for $2,681,545.

     Thomas S. Bohne of Florida, who charged that he was "summarily and immediately" removed as secretary of the Idle Hour Stock Farm Company last Oct. 5 because he refused to apprve an option for the purchase, brought the suit.

     The petition listed the proposed purchasers as Greentree Stud, INc., New York: King Ranch, Texas, and Ogden Phipps, New York.  

     Bohne's action named as defendants John R. Bradley, brother of E. R. Bradley, and co-executor of the estate; J. P. Cochrane, vice president of the Idle Hour Corporation; the Idle Hour Stock Farm Company; Greentree Stud, Inc.; King Ranch and Ogden Phipps.

     Bohne contended the 1,291 acre farm has a "fair market value" of more than $1.000,000 and that horses and "other personal property" was worth more than $2,500,000.

     He claimed that John Rogers Bradley, as vice president of the stock company, and Cochrane executed an option to sell the property for $2,681,545 which was not a fair price.

The Palm Beach Post,  Thursday, October 31, 1946,   Page 7

State Eyes Sale of Bradley Farm

     Clarence M. Gay, State comptroller, filed a petition in probate court Wednesday declaring that his tax office would be represented in the next hearing on current litigation concerning settlement of the E. R. Bradley estate.

     In regard to the contested sale of Bradley's Idle Hour Farm at Lexington, Ky., Gay's paper professes agreement  witha petition filed by Thomas S. Bohne, city, "on other information and belief that the said property is about to be sold for a sum considerably less than the present markeT value," thus depriving Florida of the proper estate taxes.

     The comptroller's attorney, Lewis H. Tribble, will be present at the hearing at 2 p. m. Friday when Judge Richard P. Robbins will decide on the questioned sufficiency of Bohne's petition, on which an injunction had been granted preventing John R. Bradley, brother of the deceased and executor of the estate , from proceeding with settlement.

     John Bradley recently filed a petition charging that Bohne's paper was without validity, claiming that E. R. Bradley's will clearly makes the deceased's brother the only executor of the estate after the death of C. Barry Shannon, and also claiming that the local court has no juRisdiction over the sale of the Kentucky corporation which controls the Idle Hour Farm. 

The Palm Beach Post,  Saturday, December 13, 1947   Page 4


Petition Filed Against E.R. Bradley Estate


     A petition by James A. Yates, Jacksonville attorney, to file suit against the estate of the late E. R. Bradley, Palm Beach philanthropist, to establish a claim for $1.405 for alleged legal services, is on file in probate court.

     The petioner asserts that he, as trustee for the bondholders, including the Bradley estate, has been involved in litigation over  a 15 year period.

     Further developments in the $7,000,000 Bradley estate were indicated by two declarations filed with the circuit clerk Friday by John R. Bradley, as executor.

     One document claims $11,000 damages on a $4,000 promissory note, alleged to be owed by Charles Beileman.  The other asks $2,000 damages on a promissory note allegedly owed by R. H. Rousseau.  


The Palm Beach Post, Friday, December 5, 1924,  Page 7

Western Union opened a branch office at the Biltmore Hotel on Ocean Boulevard yesterday with C. D. Sawyer in charge.  There will be five offices in operation in Palm Beach when the season opens, the main office which will be located in the Rosemary apartment building opening about the middle of this month.

The Palm Beach Post, Wednesday, December 17, 1924,  Page 3


Rosemary Apartments, Bradley Place and Sunset Ave.  Palm Beach.

Palm Beach's newest and largest apartment house, completed and opened Dec. 1st, 1924.

Modern, fireproof, complete in the heart of Florida's most noted resort, convenient in every attraction.

Forty apartments, forty baths, elevators, dining room 250 capacity.

Success secured by location and increasing demand.  One of Florida's safest investments.  Easiest terms available.


For Details See



Exclusive agents

Hotel and Apartment House Specialists

     Main Street, Palm Beach

Expert Counsel at Your Service on Florida Hotels


The Palm Beach Post, Sunday, December 5, 1937,  Page 44


Mrs. Paty, Manager, Has Operated Hotels in Section For 18 Years

     With the recent opening of the Palm Beach Plaza Hotel on Sunset Avenue at Bradley Place in Palm Beach,Place, Mrs. Lina King Paty  launched her eighteenth season in hotel management in the Palm Beaches.

    This is the fourth winter that the Plaza has been under her direction, and it has come to be the mecca for many visitors who had spent former seasons with her at other hotels.  Mrs. Paty spent this summer abroad, and she has brought back with her a number of Old World ideas of color and atmosphere, which she has incorporated especially in her new patio.

     The patio in front of the hotel has been paved with red tile.  There is much new planting and bright yellow chairs have been scattered throughout, so that it will prove a setting for many sun lovers this winter,

     During the summer the hotel was completely done over with new painting and much new decoration.  The Plaza is a large rambling home-like hotel, with a capacity ranging from 150 to 165.  Most of the rooms are arranged in suites, the greater number of bed-rooms having adjoining sitting rooms that have in-a-door beds in dressing closets.

     An interesting feature of the Plaza lies in the fact that the usual hotel uniformity has been abandoned in favor of individual furnishings and decorations for each suite.  Different color schemes and varied types of furniture are used in each.  Some of the guests, who return year after year,  leave some of their individual accessories in their suites to be ready for them on their return  Large, spacious dressing room closets are a  special feature of the rooms.

     The large lounge extends across the front of the building and is furnished with low, comfortable chairs and lounges.  It adjoins the dining room, which is on the Bradley Place side.  The Plaza has built up a reputation for its southern cooking.

The Miami News, Wednesday, November 22, 1644  Page 5

ONE OF THE largest real eatate transactions to be completed in Palm Beach this year is the recent sale of the Palm Beach Plaza hotel by Algemac Properties, Inc.,to A. A. Winer for a price of $110,000.


The Palm Beach Post, Friday, December 15, 1950,  Page 10

Mrs. Bollet Regains Palm Beach Plaza

     Having re-acquired the Palm Beach Plaza Hotel, which she owned and operated in 1944-45, Mrs. Sorrel Ross Bollet Thursday made known that she plans to have the hotel again under her personal ownership-management this season.

     Mrs. Bollet this week completed negotiations for re-purchasing the hotel from Mr. and Mrs. George D. Flick, to whom she sold it in 1945.  She also owns the adjacent building, with a pharmacy on the ground floor, apartments above in which she makes her home.

     The hotel will open about Dec. 20, she said, following a complete remodeling and refurnishing job.

     A. Burton Wright, who has been with a number of resort hotels, including the Boca Raton Club, the Roney Plaza in Miami Beach, and the Atlantic Beach, is to be resident manager, the owner said. said.


The Palm Beach Post, Tuesday, July 27, 1943,  Page 7

Palm Beach Plaza Hotel

Palm Beach, Fla., corner of Bradley Place and Sunset Ave.  Phone 8545.

Special summer rates for officers and service men and families.  $50 monthly.  Two in room, with private bath $1.50 daily.  Free bathing facilities.  Convenient to all Army camps.  Bus service from hotel.

The Palm Beach Post, Sunday, November 19, 1967,  Page  86

Old Resort Hotel To Have New Life

     Re-opening of the Palm Beach Plaza Hotel, Sunset Avenue and Bradley Place, by the end of November as the Bradley House by architect Robert W. Richardson is reviving memories of Col. Edward R. Bradley, colorful gambler and club owner here from 1895 through to 1946.

     "The building has been in rundown appearance for some time," said Richardson.  "Examination showed it to be in excellent structural condition.  Although much of its original beauty has been hidden under coats of paint and indiscriminate redecorating in the past, to me, as a practicing designer, its refurbishing became a challenge."

     The challenge encouraged Richardson and his associates to buy the 60-room, four-story building.  He is now rapidly having it repainted, rebuilt in parts, and refurbished into a 40-unit seasonal rental apartment complex, with a restaurant, bar and public areas.

     It is part of a long-range plan to spend $200,000 on improvements.  This season, carpeting, a new elevator, paint inside and outside and air conditioning in some areas are being added.

     The hotel has been located directly opposite Col. Bradley's Beach famous Club  gambling casino, which before demolition in 1946 attracted a wealthy clientele of business tycoons, gamblers, show people and others for its lavish games, entertainment and good food.  Erected in 1925 on land sold by Bradley, the hotel became a stopping place for some of this clientele because of its ready access to the casino.

      "The bar is to be called the Algemac Room, " said Richardson.  "It will commemorate the original name of the hotel.  The new of Bradley House is in honor of Col. Bradley.

     The original building permit was for $100,000.  It was sold during 1946 for $215,000 and changed hands again in November, 1966, for an unreported sum.

     New manager of the Bradley House will be Daniel P. Larkin Sr., who has operated his own hotels in New England and managed the Seabreeze in Palm Beach.  He has been active in the reconditioning of the hotel.

     "I've noticed that some rooms had as many as four telephones installed at one time," said Larkin.  "In its heyday the hotel catered to some important people.  On the ground floor was located a stock exchange broker and the Western Union offices."

     The Bradley House has two penthouses.  Richardson plans to rebuild these for his family.  There are also plans to build a swimming pool in the entrance patio facing Sunset Avenue.  The main entrance is being moved around to Bradley Place.  The lobby will be approached through a long arcade as originally laid out by the builders more than a quarter of a century ago. 


The Palm Beach Post, Friday, May 16, 1975,  Page 20


A Good Mix Every Night


     The Bradley House -- It's in Palm Beach -- is open from 3 p.m. till 5 a.m. with a changing panorama of guests and entertainers.  Marty Loren started the lounge about four months ago when it was known as the  Algomac Room, then he changed it to the name of the seasonal hotel in which it is located.  That's on the corner , South of Publix.

     The atmosphere is nostalgic with music covers from the 30's, 40's  and 50's decorating the walls, which goes along  with Lorin's repertoire of about 1800 tunes in standards, show , some country and a lot of calypso.  He has two dozen tunes he has written and copyrighted, but never recorded, played on request, such as "Her Eyes", a folk theme, and "I Wanna Marry Juana", a calypso play on words. He sings on most of his numbers as he plays the piano, accompanied by Chuck Adams, a "fantastic" musician on bass though he doesn't read a note.  Lately, whenever Guiseppe Campora, the opera singer drops by, the threesome gets together with Lorin on piano, Campora singing Neopolitan tenor and Adams with a mandolin.  The effect on the crowd is electric.

     Sing-a-longs are on request only -- Lorin does no rock -- with most regulars content to listen to the music, talk, and dance.  Later in the evening other entertainers usually drop in, like Carol and John (Night Life Duo) from the Tavern in Palm Beach Gardens.  Oftentimes it's another band, bringing along a high hat and a drum as alorin doesn't use one.  Jimmy Slane, one of the "finest trumpet players in this area" likes to stop by (he club dates for Marshall Grant), and from Boca may come June Hoff who sings with "the range and style of an Ella Fitzgerald".  Bradley House regulars never know who is going to show up, except that the mix will be good.

On "mixing", there is Roanne Genge, president of the Female Bartender's Club, behind the bar from opening to about 8 p.m. when Neil McNerny takes over, and also Candy Spiers, relief bartender and cocktail waitress.  The gals are both blonde, however, Roanne is 6 ft. tall, while Candy is 5 ft. 2 inches tall (and also has eyes of blue).

     Lorin began working as a musician about eight years ago in Delray.  Before then he wrote promo copy for a New York ad agency and later ran the Limelight Restaurant in Greenwich Village which was near five off-Broadway theaters.  There was no entertainment except by those dropping in:  Dustin Hoffman (before he made it), Jack Wood, and whenever the Kingston Trio or Joan Baez were in town they would come in.  At the same time McNerney ran Mothers in Boston, and he probably knows a story or two himself.

     Come on by the Bradley House anytime for a change of scene, but don't tell Lorin he looks like Joe Namath, even if it is true.

The Palm Beach Post, Sunday, July 25, 2004,  Page 77

Restaurant-Landlord tiff sets table for suits

     Things are loco at CoCo Palm Beach, the toney Palm Beach restaurant scheduled to open someday.

     The Chinese restaurant is backed by the new star of Palm Beach Society, Simon Fireman.  He's the chairman this year of the prestigious International Red Cross Ball, which raises a mountain of money

     But a lawsuit by  restaurant landlord New Bradley House  says Fireman's CoCo Palm Beach is turning into a money pit.

     New Bradley House claims that CoCo Palm Beach hasn't paid the $8,750 monthly rent since Jan. 1. even though New Bradley House has spent thousands fixing up the 3,500-square -foot space.

     And New Bradley House says Fireman and co-backer Summer Kaye haven't ponied up rent for Unit No. 207 in the New Bradley House hotel, either.  Apparently, , CoCo Palm Beach and its backers have been usin g the room for construction headquarters and New Bradley House says they won't leave. (A CoCo Palm Beach lawyer wouldn't talk about the lawsuit, and Fireman couldn't be reached for comment.)

     Fireman is a noted philanthropist, so its not like he can't afford a hotel tab.


     But, he's been frustrated by construction problems at CoCo Palm Beach, which was supposed to open October, 2002.  Now it will be fall 2004  before the eatery opens.


     It was a fed-up Fireman who actually got the legal ball rolling.  In March, CoCo Palm Beach filed a lawsuit in Palm Beach County Circuit Court against New Bradley House.  CoCo Palm Beach says it hasn't been able to open because New Bradley House didn't turn over the restaurant's shell building until November 2003.  That's a year past the time Coco Palm Beach was supposed to throw open its doors.

     But New Bradley House said the delay wasn't its fault, and it fired back with the eviction lawsuits.  It also is demanding Coco Palm Beach pay for rehabbing the space, site of the former E. R. Bradley's Saloon

     Among the bills, $42,300 owed to Garrett Construction Corp..  The company claims in a recent lawsuit that New Bradley House hasn't paid for renovation work.

     A trial on the Bradley-CoCo dispute is set for November.  So theoretically, CoCo Palm Beach could be opening at around the time it might be evicted.

Stay tuned.

Palm Beach Daily News, Saturday, March 9, 2002,  Page 2

Bradley House dining deal nears

Building owners say upscale Asian restaurant planned for fall if prospective tenant signs lease.  By Stephanie Murphy

     The owners of the historic Bradley House apartment-hotel say they are very close to signing a restaurant tenant for the first-floor space that used to house E. R. Bradley's Saloon.

     The prospective tenant, an established restauranteur, may sign within a week, said owner George Levin of Fort Lauderdale.  Plans call for an upscale restaurant that serves Asian cuisine to open this fall.

     "The lease is out there but not signed and back yet.  It could be one week  or who knows," Levin said.  The operator has another restaurant in South Florida, but Levin declined to give details.

     He confirmed earlier this week that he has been negotiating with two possible tenants.  Both have established businesses but would create a separate and distinctive entity for Palm Beach, not a second location of an existing restaurant, he said.

     Bob Moore, director of planning, zoning and building, said he spoke to Levin's attorney, Jim Brindall, on Wednesday, "Jim said they would have a tenant, and I told them to have Levin's tenant contact Paul (Castro, zoning director).  We haven't seen their plans yet," Moore said.

     One thing that won't change at the redeveloped Bradley House is the name, Levin said.

     "We absolutely wouldn't change it That's been the name since the 1920s."

     The four-story building dates to 1923, and Levin and his wife, Susan, have owned it since 1979.  They bought out a partner, George Faigan, in January 1999 and another partner, James Clarke, in September, 1999.

     Palm Beach residents Gail and Frank Coniglio, who also own commercial property on the island, operated E. R. Bradley's in the Bradley House for more than 16 years before moving it to Clamatis Street in 1999.

     Stephanie Levin, the "Levin's" daughter, operated the No Name Tavern in the restaurant/bar space for two months  


Palm Beach Daily News, Thursday, November 10, 2005,  Page 7

Happy New Year 2011!! Given the fireworks to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit have only just begun, I bring to you COCO PALM BEACH restaurant, the best Asian cuisine in town!

The second day of the Chinese New Year is considered an auspicious one specifically for contemplation to honor ancestors and all the Gods. Some believe that the special prayers done on this day offer blessings of business prosperity and success throughout the year so for those bright minded and beautiful hungry people who want to mark this special time and embrace the essence of the year which can be captured by the words, calm, peaceful and prosperous.

Check www.COCOPALMBEACH.COM for more information including their menu and location.


The newly completed patio area is perfect for gazing at the moon on a warm South Florida winter eve while worshiping the beauty of mother earth.  Stay persistent this year and enjoy the gentle gifts of what this Year of the Rabbit will bring!!!

Palm Beach daily News, Thursday, November 10, 2005, Page 7

Coco Palm Beach

290 Sunset Ave. Bradley House Hotel, 832-3734

     Offers Asian and "Palm-Asian" cuisine.  Japanese appetizers include sushi or sashimi by the piece and by the roll.  Other appetizers: lobster spring rolls, shrimp dumplings, baby back ribs, and miso soup with seafood and vegetables.  Entrees range from rice and noodle specialties to Peking duck (request this 24 hours in advance), lychee prawns, almond chicken, lemon scallops, pork tenderloin grilled and glazed with Chinese barbecue sauce, rack of lamb and vegetarian bento box.  A three-course menu, available from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., is $20.95.  Happy hour with complimentary hors d'oeuvres and 2-for-1 drinks, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Mon.-Fri.  Valet parking on Bradley Place. D (nightly) , $$.

Palm Beach Daily News, Thursday, June 9, 2011,  Page A002

Sun sets on dining at CoCo Palm Beach

     CoCo Palm Beach, the Sunset Avenue eatery  that has been serving chef Jeff Peng's pan-Asian cuisine since 2005, has shuttered for good.

     Management had previously reported that the restaurant would close Sunday, May 29, for the season and would return in the fall.

     Peng, who did not return calls, placed to the restaurant's still operative phone number, had no explanation for the closure in an advertisement  in this past Sunday's Palm Beach Daily News about CoCo's departure, instead thanking customers for their patronage.

     A complaint fled May 31 against CoCo Palm Beach, LLC in Palm Beach County  civil court, however, could explain why the restaurant is no longer.

     In court documents, CoCo's landlord, The New Bradley House, Ltd., cites failure to make rental payment, ammounting to over $120,000, on the 3,500 square foot space since September 2009, among other issues. 


Palm Beach Daily News    Posted: 12:49 p.m. Monday, April 30, 2018

The landmarked Bradley Park Hotel — a fixture on Palm Beach’s Sunset Avenue since the boom years of the 1920s — has been sold for $15.375 million, according to a deed recorded today.

The new owner of the 32-room hotel at 280 Sunset Ave. is Boston-based New England Development, a statement released by the company confirmed. The company is developing plans for a major renovation and has taken over the day-to-day operations. All employees have been retained.

“We are very excited to be involved in this landmark project and look forward to enhancing the hotel in the future,” company president Douglass E. Karp said in the statement.

The sale closed Friday.

New England Development develops and manages shopping centers, retail and mixed-use developments that sometimes include a hotel component, according to its website. Karp serves as “asset manager” for the company’s Nantucket Island Resortsdivision that owns and manages a collection of luxury hotels, inns and retail establishments in Nantucket, Mass. Among them is a historic hotel, the Jared Coffin House, that dates to 1845.

New England Development is headed by its co-founder, Chairman Stephen R. Karp, a seasonal Palm Beacher. The company was a partner with two other firms in developing the Palm Beach Outlets mall on the site of the old Palm Beach Mall in West Palm Beach. The outlet mall opened on Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard in February 2014, and in 2015 New England Development and Clarion Partners bought it for a reported $278 million.

Built in 1924, the Spanish-Mediterranean-style hotel was sold by a company controlled by Gayla Sue Levin of Fort Lauderdale. She signed the deed as president of Bradley House Inc., the parent company of New Bradley House Ltd., the Fort Lauderdale-based entity that owned the property, state business records show.

The four-story hotel has a total of 28,668 square feet of space, inside and out, according to property records. With an open courtyard fronting Sunset Avenue, the building occupies a half-acre lot on the southeast corner of Bradley Place. The property includes a 17-space parking lot.

Real estate agent Chris Deitz of The Fite Group handled both sides of the off-market sale of the Bradley Park Hotel, he said. James Paine, formerly of The Fite Group, also was involved on the seller’s side.

Also newly involved with the hotel is real estate investor Edward “Ned” Grace IV.  Grace said he has a prior working relationship with New England Development and he and his partners will be working on the hotel project. Grace and his partner Damien Barr also are part of the new ownership group that recently revamped Cucina, formerly known as Cucina dell’Arte, just around the corner from the hotel on Royal Poinciana Way. Grace is the son of Capital Grille founder and Palm Beacher Edward Grace III.

It’s unclear from property records when the seller’s ownership company took possession of the property or how much changed hands in that deal. Bradley House Inc. was incorporated in 1992 and has been filing annual reports with the state since at least 1994, state business records show.

Levin was listed as an officer in the 1995 annual report with several others, including her ex-husband, Fort Lauderdale  businessman  George  G. Levin.  They divorced  in   2014,  Broward  County courthouse   records  show.

A federal jury in April 2015 found George Levin guilty of civil securities fraud related to a pair of investment funds linked in court documents to a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme orchestrated by disbarred Fort Lauderdale attorney Scott Rothstein, who is serving 50 years in federal prison. An appeals court threw out one of the securities fraud claims against George Levin — which the Securities and Exchange Commission then withdrew — but affirmed the other violations and the jury verdict against  him. George Levin did not face criminal  charges related to the Ponzi scheme.

Gayla Levin has stated in court documents that she knew nothing about Rothstein’s criminal activity and that she and her husband were “victims” of his Ponzi scheme, which collapsed in 2009. As the plaintiff in a 2015 civil suit filed on her behalf against Bank of America, her complaint said she “may have suffered the largest loss of any individual victim” of the Ponzi scheme and her losses totaled “millions of dollars.” She ultimately voluntarily withdrew that suit.

Gayla Levin’s waterfront house on Bay Colony Road in Fort Lauderdale was listed in property records as the entity that owned the hotel in Palm Beach.

Two tenants occupy parts of the ground level of the Bradley Park Hotel. In 2012, Trevini Ristorante, a longtime Palm Beach Italian restaurant, moved from Worth Avenue to the west side of the building and during fair weather serves meals at tables in the courtyard. C’est Si Bon, a gourmet shop and caterer, occupies a Sunset Avenue storefront in the east part of the building.

Trevini co-owner Gianni Minervini said he expected to meet with the new owner this week. “We’re very happy here,” Minervini said, adding that he had been given no indication that the new owner would want to change his restaurant’s tenancy.

C’est Si Bon has announced plans to sell its business but the owners hope to remain at the hotel for the foreseeable future, pending discussions with the new owner, said Arthur Voyer, brother of co-owner Aris Voyer.

The hotel was assigned a total market value of $4.6 million in the latest Palm Beach County tax rolls. Its taxable value was about $3.8 million, which generated $88,860 in total tax revenue for the county.

The hotel stands one street north of Royal Poinciana Way — the town’s original Main Street — in a historic area that is undergoing revitalization, thanks in part to the recent completion of the new Flagler Memorial Bridge and a renovation project at Bradley Park across the street from the hotel. The nearby Royal Poinciana Plaza shopping center was recently revamped with new tenants, while a major mixed-use development is under construction at the former Testa’s Restaurant property on the east end of Royal Poinciana Way.

Grace said the hotel is in a prime position for renovation to become a “top-tier” hotel.  “What’s going on on Royal Poinciana Way is highly important to the project,” said Grace.  Khaled Hashem, managing director of hospitality at New England Development, echoed that view.  “Everything we do is first class,” he said. “The hotel has amazing potential — a landmarked building in a fantastic location.”

Promoted as an “all-suite” hotel, the property’s nightly room rates currently range from $159 for a deluxe room to $219 for a one-bedroom suite, according to a search of the property’s website. The website touts a “recent reno-vation” that combined “historic glamour and elegance with contemporary luxury.” The layout includes a two-bedroom penthouse and a three-bedroom penthouse.

The hotel was built during the go-go development years of the Roaring ’20s, when boutique hotels and boarding houses opened on the island at a rapid pace to cater to winter visitors. Historic properties from that era in Midtown still in operation include what are today The Chesterfield, The Brazilian Court hotel-condominium and The Palm Beach Historic Inn. The Bradley Park Hotel also is one street south of  the historic Palm Beach Hotel-Condominium.

The Bradley Park Hotel’s building was built as the Rosemary Apartments, the first of several names the building would have over the years. Other early names included the Rosa May Apartments and the Algemac Hotel. It was known as the Palm Beach Plaza Hotel from the mid-1930s until its sale in 1967, when it acquired the Bradley House moniker. The name later changed to the Bradley Park Hotel.

“Much like happened to many buildings built in the 1920s, the building had its name changed several times,” said Palm Beach architectural historian Augustus Mayhew.

The town designated the property a landmark in 1980. The report prepared as part of the designation process says the building was constructed by Col. E.R. Bradley, who owned and operated his Bradley’s Beach Club gambling establishment nearby on land that is today Bradley Park. Bradley and his brother, J.R. Bradley, owned large swaths of land on Sunset Avenue that they redeveloped as the Floral Park subdivision.

But detailed contemporary newspaper accounts of the building’s planning and construction never mention E.R. Bradley’s involvement. Instead, articles say it was designed by architect Martin L. Hampton and built by the Campbell Building Co., which was run by principals J.H. Scott, J.R. Anthony and W.D. Manley.  “Many of the landmarks reports were prepared before (digitized versions of) newspapers were easily searchable,” said Mayhew.  

Mayhew notes that E.R. Bradley’s name became popularly associated with the hotel after the 1967 sale. The name change helped spur the hotel’s association with Bradley and his famous gambling club, Mayhew said.  He noted that one of the hotel’s previous names, “Algemac,” was later transposed as “Algomac” and that erroneous name appears throughout the landmark designation report.

“The Bradley House’s cocktail lounge was reportedly to be named the Algemac Room but was instead named the Algomac Room as a confounding historical nod,” said Mayhew.

For 17 years, the space now occupied by Trevini was home to E.R. Bradley’s Saloon until it moved across the bridge to a waterfront site overlooking Flagler Drive in West Palm Beach. The restaurant and bar is owned by the Coniglio family.

The Coniglios also own the historic office-and-retail building immediately south of the hotel at Bradley Place and Royal Poinciana Way. Although that building predates the hotel building, it was marketed to hotel investors in the 1920s as part of the original Rosemary Apartments.

Around the corner from the hotel at Cucina, Grace and his restaurant partners remodeled, changed the menu and shortened the name of the former Cucina dell’Arte, which for years was part of the Coniglio family’s restaurant portfolio. One of the restaurant’s principals is Nick Coniglio, the son of Frank Coniglio and his wife, Palm Beach Mayor Gail Coniglio.

Staff researcher Melanie Mena contributed to this story.

Bradley Park Hotel.  Located across the street from Bradley's Beach Club.  It was the home of the the original E. R. Bradley's Saloon, before they moved across the intercoastal to West Palm Beach. "Remember dancing on the bar?" Now home to the World Class Trevini's

New England Development paid $15.4 million for the Bradley Park Hotel in Palm Beach, property records show.

The New Bradley House Limited, led by Gayla Sue Levin, sold the 32-key hotel at 280 Sunset Avenue to New England Development affiliate Bradley Park Owner LLC.

The Boston-based buyer plans to renovate and upgrade the landmark property, which was built in 1924. It sold for about $480,500 per key.

The acquisition is the first hotel in South Florida for New England Development, said Khaled Hashem, managing director of hospitality. The firm developed and manages the Palm Beach Outlets in West Palm Beach and the adjacent Marketplace at the Outlets. In Boston, it is part owner of the Taj Boston Hotel and developed the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel.

The nearly 29,000-square-foot Palm Beach hotel includes Trevini restaurant and C’est Si Bon, a gourmet store and catering company on the ground floor.

Chris Deitz of The Fite Group brokered the off-market deal, according to the Palm Beach Daily News.

In December, the Clark family sold its majority interest in the nearby historic Colony Hotel to the son of former minority owner Bob Wetenhall Sr. for $12 million.

Tags: Commercial Real EstateHotelsnew england developmentPalm Beach

The Bradley Park Hotel and that Palm Beach Energy,

by Bruce Klauber

One of the most beautiful things about Naples, Florida, is its individual and collective attitude, if a city can have such a thing. Apt descriptions of this Naples state of mind would likely include phrases like “laid back,” everything “on an even keel,” etc. In short, everything and everybody in Naples is just darned nice.

From time to time, however, there is a need for a change of energy, a shot of adrenalin, a surge of excitement and, shall we say, a modification of attitude. Joy Adams and I experienced all this quite recently, and it came from an unlikely source, if only because we didn’t know we needed this energy shot until we got where we were going. The place was Palm Beach, Florida, a locale we’ve not visited for ten years. Friends from the north were visiting Palm Beach, and we decided to meet them for lunch, and then drive back to Naples. Our lunch visit lasted almost three days.

Because Palm Beach exists virtually as its own universe–Joy characterizes it as “a different country”–it also has its own energy. The wealth, the fashion, the beauty, the grace, the gentility, and yes, the excitement of it all combined, at least in our case, to inspire and lift the spirit. Like every city of every size, Palm Beach has changed somewhat in terms of gearing itself a bit more to the younger contingent. But Worth Avenue is still Worth Avenue (and more beautiful than we recall), the pristinely restored and majestic Breakers is still The Breakers, Ta-boo’ restaurant remains one of the culinary and social epicenters of the island, and Ta-boo’ co-owner Franklyn deMarco is still the host of hosts.

For us, one of the major contributors to the Palm Beach charm factor, was The Bradley Park Hotel, and we happened on this jewel of a property quite by accident. When we decided on an overnight stay, we first checked The Palm Beach Hotel, where our friends were installed, for a vacancy. They were filled, but when asked to recommend a place in “the neighborhood,” the suggestion was Bradley Park.

This hotel, quite simply, is a certifiable gem that personifies the grace and charm of old Palm Beach. And they had a vacancy.

Now 85 years old and meticulously restored, the hotel accurately describes itself as a charming, intimate and historic boutique property that offers “traditional values in hospitality, blended with an original expression of the past and present.” The 32 guest rooms and suites are beautifully appointed, many with features like full kitchens, European linens, bathrobes, DVD players, surround sound and much more. There is a wonder-ful, gourmet grocery, C’est Si Bon, on the premises (Joy now swears by their coffee) and a to-die-for Asian fusion restaurant, Coco’s, on the premises. The hotel’s Royal Palm and Bradley Suites on the penthouse level, have to be seen to be believed. All of us who saw the unbelievable penthouse deck clearly and quickly envisioned throwing a spectacular private party there, with entertainment, of course, by the Joy Adams/Bruce Klauber Orchestra.

Deservedly, the facility has been designated as an historical landmark by the Palm Beach Historical Society. Its Mediterranean Revival architecture is indicative of the gracious, tropical lifestyle of Palm Beach. Adding to the beautiful picture is a central courtyard, café tables and a trickling fountain. Arched entryways and expansive suites opening to landscaped balconies complete the experience. Yes, it is luxurious, but without stuffiness or pretense of any kind.

Charm and gentility factors notwithstanding, service is what makes a hotel — of any size and in any locale — work. The staff of The Bradley Park Hotel sincerely cares about its guests, and I got the sense, early on, that they would do anything within their power to make a guest happy. While moving into our room, I encoun-tered one of the managers in the elevator, with his hands literally filled with pots and pans.”What’s up, Peter?” I asked. (It does not take long for everyone to know everyone’s name here.) “Well,” a lady on your floor wants to cook spaghetti in her room tonight, so I just gathered up everything she might need.” Service, indeed. Coincidently, that lady also drove over from Naples that afternoon, and had come to Palm Beach to participate in a croquet tournament.

After a full day of more shopping and more beauty, we had no choice but to ask if there were a vacancy for another night. Fortunately, there was, and if we didn’t have a commitment back in Naples Friday evening, we might still be there.

The Palm Beach energy jolt remains within, especially because we’re now aware there’s a warm, welcoming and charming place for us there, in the form of The Bradley Park Hotel, when we return. If there’s a vacancy, that is.

General Manager Melissa Payson deserves a good deal of credit for overseeing operations at the hotel, which includes supervision of the restoration. I fervently believe that any staff takes on the attitude of manage-ment, which certainly explains why everyone involved at The Bradley Park Hotel is so wonderful.

Incidently, if only because this is, I would be personally and professionally remiss if I didn’t tell of the rather active jazz scene in Palm Beach. For information on clubs, schedules and festivals, log on to the web site of The Jazz Arts Music Society of Palm Beach at:

The Bradley Park Hotel is located 280 Sunset Avenue, Palm Beach, FL, 33480. Telephone: 800-822-4116 or 561-832-7050. Visit on the web at

This entry was posted on Saturday, February 28th, 2009 at 12:16 pm and is filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


Move offers Trevini Ristorante’s owners opportunity to update eatery

By Darrell Hofheinz - Daily News Staff Writer


Updated: 8:08 p.m. Saturday, February 18, 2012 |  Posted: 3:17 p.m. Saturday, February 18, 2012


He and Trevisan, the restaurant’s chef, seized on the idea of using the move from the 150 Worth shopping plaza as a chance to give Trevini an updated look — bright, contemporary and with a more sophisticated attitude than the previous traditional styled interiors.

The menu, a mix of Italian specialties with an emphasis on fresh and imported fish and seafood, wouldn’t change much, they agreed. But the setting would need to be more in line with current trends in restaurant design, something that would suit the restaurant’s longtime customer base, which skewed older, yet would also appeal to a younger clientele, which Minervini and crew hoped to attract.  “That’s what we wanted,” he said.

Minervini knew who to call to help him achieve that goal, once Trevini had vacated the old space — today home to Cha Cha’s Latin Fresh Kitchen and Tequila Bar — and a lease had been signed at 290 Sunset Ave. in the space that had been occupied for several years by Coco, an Asian restaurant.


Tequesta-based Interior designer Allison Paladino-Hansen was already familiar with Trevini. Her eponymous firm had offices near it inside 150 Worth for several years until Paladino-Hansen moved from Palm Beach in 2010.

Paladino-Hansen, in fact, had already worked with the restaurant’s owners, who asked her in 2008 to make some minor decorative improvements — fresh paint, new artwork and the like — to freshen up the interior. It was “a lipstick” project, she recalled, far different from the more complex design that the new restaurant required.


The project was even more complex because of its tight time frame.  “We signed the lease in September,” Minervini said, “and we opened Nov. 21.”  As inspiration for the look of the new Trevini, Minervini showed Paladino-Hansen a photo of a restaurant owned by a friend in his hometown of Bari, on the west coast of Southern Italy, directly across from Naples.

“We sort of took that concept — a new style of trattoria,” explained Minervini, who got his start in the hospitality industry working aboard Italian cruise ships before moving to New York City in 1981.

After a stint at the upscale Il Milino in New York, Minervini moved in 1986 to South Florida and later opened Il Trullo, an Italian restaurant in Lantana. In 1996, he acquired Il Tartuffo on Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale. And in 2000, he opened Trevini with Trevisan; the restaurant’s name is a combination of both their surnames.

In addition to overseeing Trevini’s kitchen with longtime assistant Juan Rivera, Trevisan is the chef-owner of the popular Stresa Italian restaurant on Okeechobee Boulevard in West Palm Beach. He and Minervini own another restaurant, Osteria, open only during the warmer months in Sapphire, N.C.

Natural light

For the design of the new Trevini, Paladino-Hansen, working with colleague Zita Rudd, stripped away the heavy trappings, green marble appointments and ornate moldings of the old Asian restaurant, and then chopped down the dense bamboo outside the large windows to flood the interior with natural light.

The design team kept in place a gently curved open-grid room divider from the old restaurant, which separates the main room into two dining areas, with one end anchored by a large bar. The walls were painted parchment white to contrast with the millwork and bar finished in a chocolate stain to match the new chairs around the white-linen-draped tables.

She also chose new furnishings for the courtyard’s dining area, and decorated a private dining room off the main hallway. Much of the contemporary artwork throughout the restaurant came from her update at the old Trevini.

“But the restaurant looks so different that people often comment on the new art,” Paladino-Hansen said with a smile.

Paladino-Hansen credits general contractor Tim Givens of Tim Givens Building and Remodeling and Mike Hamlin of Hamlin Woodworks, both of West Palm Beach, for getting the project done so quickly.

Many of the restaurant’s longtime employees, including manager Ida Bucheck, made the transition to open the new location, as did his daughters, Nina Minervini and Carla Minervini.

Business during the past three months, meanwhile, has surpassed expectations, according to Minervini. His former customers are patronizing the restaurant for lunch, dinner and the newly added Sunday brunch, he said. He’s also seeing a younger crowd that often gathers on the patio or at the bar.

“The (old) restaurant was usually empty by 10 p.m. Here, customers linger as late as midnight,” he said.

Minervini added that he and Trevisan have no regrets about the decision by his former landlord, the Goodman Co., to pursue a different restaurant for the space at 150 Worth.

“I was happy at the old Trevini,” Minervini said, “and now I’ve even happier.”

After learning late last spring that they couldn’t renew Tre-vini Ristorante’s lease at its longtime home on Worth Avenue, co-owners Gianni Minervini and Claudio Tre-visan immediately announced plans to reopen their 11-year-old Italian restaurant else-where on the island.

“Our life is here. We really treat this as our home,” said Minervini, 52, whose two grown daughters also work at the restaurant, which is today comfortably ensconced in its new home at the Bradley Park Hotel.

In addition to the interior dining spaces, the restaurant would offer alfresco seating on the large courtyard of the historic hotel, which was built in the 1920s by E.R. Bradley to serve clientele of his famous Bradley’s Beach Club gambling house.

“Gianni wanted the restaurant to be tailored, clean and hip, but also warm and inviting. And I thought Palm Beach needed that,” said Paladino-Hansen, who is known primarily for her residential work rather than her commercial pro-jects.

Palm Beach Post, Sunday, September 4, 2011,  Page 5

By Robert Janjigan,  Daily News Fashion Editor

Trevini to reopen at new locale

     The popular island eatery Trevini Ristorante, which had a 10-year run at The Esplanade/150 Worth shoppiog center, is returning in mid-November to serve up its fine Italian cuisine across town at the Bradley Park Hotel, 280 Sunset Ave. at the corner of Bradley Place.

     Trevini co-owners Gianni Minervini and Claude Trevisan signed a lease for the former home of CoCo Palm Beach, the pan-Asian establishment that closed at the end of May after seven years of operation.  

     "We feel great about this, " said Minervini.  "It's a great location.  I think we we'll  be very happy there."

     Minervini expects to open the new Trevini by mid-November.

     The restaurant will be completely recast from the current neo-Asian into a "nice, upscale Italian bistro, " he said.

     Interior designer Alliston Pallidino will be handling the revamping of the space, which will seat about 130 inside.

     "We will also have courtyard seating, " Minervini said.  "And a full bar, of course."

     Because of the new location, on the premises of a hotel and with a street presence, Trevini will probably add breakfast service at some point during the season, he said.

     Initially, they will be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. 

     "The menu won't change much from before," Minervini said.  "We'll probably just tweak a little."

     "We are vert excited about having Trevini here," said Steven Levin, agent for the building's owners, New Bradley House, Ltd. of Fort Lauderdale.

     "We'll be working together with the restaurant's owners to renovate the space,"  Levin said.  "Trevini is the perfect fit for the hotel," he said.  "We couldn't be happier about this."

Palm Beach Daily News, Thursday, June 9, 2011,  Page A002

Sun sets on dining at CoCo Palm Beach

     CoCo Palm Beach, the Sunset Avenue eatery  that has been serving chef Jeff Peng's pan-Asian cuisine since 2005, has shuttered for good.

     Management had previously reported that the restaurant would close Sunday, May 29, for the season and would return in the fall.

     Peng, who did not return calls, placed to the restaurant's still operative phone number, had no explanation for the closure in an advertisement  in this past Sunday's Palm Beach Daily News about CoCo's departure, instead thanking customers for their patronage.

     A complaint fled May 31 against CoCo Palm Beach, LLC in Palm Beach County  civil court, however, could explain why the restaurant is no longer.

     In court documents, CoCo's landlord, The New Bradley House, Ltd., cites failure to make rental payment, ammounting to over $120,000, on the 3,500 square foot space since September 2009, among other issues. 

Clash With the Titan

June 9, 1899
Dear Capt. Dimick,
Hearwith I send you a copy of a letter, dated April 24th, written (to) my Private Secretary, Mr. Salter, by Mr. T.T. Reese.  It has been and is yet impossible for me to reconcile Mr. Reese’s letter with the favorable impression I have formerly entertained of him. His statement that the people living at Palm Beach look upon the Bradley Club House as an attraction, and are therefore, under obligations to give him any reasonable protection, is astounding.

    The great developer and railroad tycoon, Henry Morrison Flagler was furious. The 1899 three-month long social season in Palm Beach ended about ten weeks earlier when the last tourists boarded private Pullman railroad cars for the journey back to their homes up north.  Plans for the expansion of the Flagler hotels- the Royal Poinciana and the Breakers which served as the back-up hostelry for those unlucky enough to get a room in the Poinciana- were underway.


    The letter was addressed to Elisha Newton "Cap" Dimick (he was famous for wearing white caps,) town pioneer, builder and operator of its first hotel- the Cocoanut Grove House and later the town's first mayor.

     "Mr T. T. Reese" was Tommy Reese, the secretary of The Beach Club, Palm Beach's newest attraction which had opened its doors just as the first visitors arrived for the 1898-1899 season.

    The club was built,  owned and operated by Edward Riley Bradley and his younger brother, John. The brothers ran a similar operation in St. Augustine called the Bacchus Club right across the street from the Hotel Ponce De Leon (now Flagler College), one of Flagler's three hotels in the town he hoped to establish as "the Newport of the South." Alas, the resort town was hit by a string of bitterly cold winters. Flagler fell in love with the tropical appearance of the Lake Worth region and built the Hotel Royal Poinciana in 1894 amid the thousands of coconut palm trees that the area would soon be famous for.

"With this plain but strong statement, you perhaps may ask yourself why I do not interfere with Mr. Bradley’s gambling place at St. Augustine. My answer is that St. Augustine has a large population and is a municipality, and I do not feel that the traveling public have the same claim upon me for the protection of their sons and daughters at St. Augustine, that they do have while in my Hotels at Palm Beach." From the Flagler letter.

 The Beach Club boasted the finest cuisine in the country, plein air dining overlooking a lakefront palm grove, fine Cuban cigars, a reading room  for the gentlemen and private dining for the ladies. Tea was served at sundown for guests who gathered on the verandas to watch the spectaular sunsets over the Everglades.

 Always sensitive to the needs and desires of the wealthiest members of society, the Bradleys even provided a complete Stock Exchange service with wires to New York and Chicago along with the usual trappings of a fine Men's Club - magazines, newspapers and fine cigars. All this luxury was just a brief bicyclechair ride from Flagler's famous hotel. 


    The Tropical Sun newspaper gushed:


     “Nothing done on the east side this year that will prove more of a feature of an attraction than the erection of the Beach Club House, just two doors north of the post office...”
     "Every lover of club life will enjoy the ideal hospitality and comforts of this indispensable adjunct to social life in our first cities. These gentlemen have established their reputation as the most successful entertainers during their management for several seasons past of The Bacchus at St. Augustine.
     Provided with a cafe ladies and gentlemen at which the veriest epicure can find complete satisfaction, choice music, handsome and costly paintings of note and every luxury at hand to gratify the taste of the most fastidious, it would seem that success would be the return for such outlay and effort to please.
     The Beach Club promises to become at once one of the features of life Palm Beach and certainly the cordial, hospitable and entertaining demeanor of the gentlemen conducting the Club will sure win favor with all who seek entertainment beneath its most hospitable roof."


     There was no mention in the article of the the card games or roulette wheels. If a man fancied a bit of gambling, the Bradley's had rooms for that too. Very hush hush, of course. Gambling in Florida was illegal after all. It was a popular feature in their Bacchus Club in St. Augustine as well.



"The “season” last winter was well advanced before I heard about the Club House. When I learned of the condition of the affairs, I sent word to Mr. Bradley that I was in the habit of fighting squarely and openly, and that I should spare no pains or expense to compel him to stop the gambling. This message was sent to Mr. Bradley by Mr. McQuire. Being in St. Augustine a few weeks later, I accidentally met Mr. Bradley at Mr. McQuire’s office. He wanted to discuss the matter with me, and I listened to his statement. He asked if he should abandon the sale of wines and liquors, whether that removed my objection. I said to him, no, positively, - that gambling was the worst feature." From the Flagler letter.


Coming Next:

"So he was operating and one night he went outside and he found some fellow peeking through his window, so he pulled out a gun and told him to come down. He asked him who he was and he said he was a detective from the hotel.

He asked him “do you work for Mr.  Flagler? Did Mr. Flagler send you?”  He said “Tell Mr. Flagler that if he wants to see m operating tell him to down here tomorrow at 10 o’clock or any time he wishes. I will be very pleased to stake him, show him around.”

So the next morning Mr. Flagler came over and introduced himself to Mr. Bradley. He went around and showed how everything was operating.  He did not have small time gambling. The people that came into the club supported gambling.

From that time on he and Mr. Flagler became best of friends.

A view of the Bacchus club (above the green arrow obscured by trees) looking south. Library of Congress

A close-up of the Bacchus Club taken from the picture above. 
The building later served as a funeral home owned by
 the family of local Palm Beach historian Jim Ponce.

In 1891, three years after Flagler opened the Ponce de Leon Hotel, pictured above, the Bradley brothers introduced casino-style gambling to Florida when they moved their Club Bacchus dine-and-dice operation from Chicago to a St. Augustine cottage on the corner of Cordova and Treasury Streets. “When the Bradleys moved on to Palm Beach, my father moved the Ponce family-owned funeral home into the Bacchus Club’s former location,” said historian Jim Ponce.

By Geoff Dobson

A short while ago, I paid my final respects to a friend at Craig’s Funeral Home. After leaving the visitation, it made me think of changes that have occurred in our funeral practices over the years.

Except for the ushers and the funeral director it seemed as if the guest of honor and I were the only ones in coat and tie. Small formalities seem to have disappeared into the mists of time. At one time as funeral processions passed by cars would pull over in respect. Pedestrians would stop and stand in respect with their hats over their hearts.

Times have changed, when the procession goes by now, police officers have to block intersections to preclude cars from breaking into the processions. Other cars will whiz by the procession. Pedestrians ignore the procession. Hardly anyone wears a hat. Most of those who do wear a baseball cap. Attire at funeral homes and, indeed, in church, is now frequently polo shirts.

At one time prior to the turn of the century, funeral homes were rare. Today, funeral services are more often in a funeral chapel than in church. Indeed, funeral chapels did not become popular until the 1920’s. In the late 1800’s, it was common for the dead to be laid out at home. Neighbors would bring in food. Pre-made caskets were sold in furniture stores. Often, however, when the home was not suitable for visitation of the deceased, the owner of the furniture store might be asked to undertake the arrangements. Thus, it became common for there to be combination furniture stores and funeral parlors.

In St. Augustine, at the beginning of the twentieth century, George T. Bunting (1844-1901) ran a furniture store at 45 and 52 N. Charlotte Street. Eventually, he purchased a small hearse and ran a combination undertaking and furniture business. Bunting’s final ride was out to Evergreen Cemetery.

Bunting employed Raymond A. Ponce as an assistant. Ponce took over the business when Bunting died. The business in due course became the Ponce Funeral Home. Among Ponce’s clients was “Slim” Jackson, the last person to be hanged at the old County Jail. Ponce’s was joined by Sanchez & Son, Sanchez & Craig, Craig’s, and F. H. Garcia. Craig’s continues to serve the area. Sanchez and Garcia have, pardon the pun, gone the way of all flesh.

The combination of undertaking and the furniture business was not limited to St. Augustine. In Daytona Beach, Bingham & Maley advertised beds, bamboo furniture, and undertaking in the same advertisements. In Ocala, McIver and Mackay in addition to advertising wagons, buggies, harness, building materials, wall paper and furniture, advertised that they had a “full line of coffins, caskets, and burial suits of every description. Special attention paid to burial services. Embalming to order.”

It was similar elsewhere in the state. As late as 1915, the Avon Park Hardware and Furniture Company advertised: “A full line of hardware of all kinds and furniture of attractive prices. Paints and oils, caskets and coffins, undertaking and embalming. See our stock and get prices. Located in old Burleigh Store.”

In Bartow, Wirt’s Furniture Store sold toys and gifts at Christmas. It had two hearses, a black one pulled by black horses and a small white one pulled by Shetland ponies for children.

The practice of combined business was not limited to Florida. After Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were killed, their bodies were left in their bullet riddled Ford which was then towed to the Conger Furniture Store & Funeral Parlor in Arcadia, Louisiana, where they were in repose.

When word got out, the town population swelled six fold. The undertaker was besieged in his furniture store by crowds eager to view the bodies. While Bonnie’s father, Henry Parker, sat weeping in the furniture section, the undertaker beat back the crowds by squirting them with embalming fluid.

In Orlando, Florida, Elihu Hand and E. A. Richard in 1890 combined the undertaking and furniture business with a livery stable. They already had the horses for the hearse and the furniture delivery wagon. It became one of the first undertaking establishments to have its own funeral chapel.

In one town, the undertaker used the same vehicle as a hearse and furniture delivery wagon. It was customary when a hearse passed, for men to take off their hats and place them over their hearts as a token of respect. To solve the problem of men standing in respect for a load of furniture, white horses were used for the furniture and black horses for the deceased.

Ostrich plumes, white for children and unmarried women and black for others, were affixed to the horses and the hearse. One’s social standing was sometimes marked by the number of plumes. The more plumes on the horses, the higher one’s rank in society. Today, one’s comparative social rank is marked by the number of traffic cones placed in front of the Cathedral.

As licensing of funeral directors came in, and times changed, the practice of operating join businesses faded out. No longer is there a possibility of standing in respect with hat over heart as a load of furniture goes by.

Geoff Dobson, a St Augustine resident for the past 33 years, is a western and Florida history writer and was former General Counsel for the Florida Department of Transportation. He is a former president of the St. Augustine Historical Society and a regular contributor of nostalgic memories to Historic City News. Before his parents moved to Florida, his father was a Black Angus cattleman. Geoff has written extensively on Wyoming history (“Wyoming Tales and Trails”). When Geoff was in high school, his family lived in the cattle country of eastern Sarasota County. The family spread, which his parents called “Wild Cat Slough,” was reachable only by a pair of ruts over the sand hills and through a snake and gator infested slough. Now, it is an area of four-lane roads, expensive subdivisions, shopping centers, and office parks. . His undergraduate degree is in history. Geoff received his post-graduate degree from the University of Florida. He may be reached at:                                           .

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