December 12, 1859 – August 15, 1946
Palm Beach Casino impresario and racing enthusiast, Colonel Bradley got his start as an American steel mill laborer, gold miner and became a successful businessman and recognized philanthropist. Born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania of Irish descent, at age 14 Edward Bradley was working as a roller in a steel mill.
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. Testifying before the United States Senate, be described himself as a "speculator, raiser of race horses and gambler."
Whatever the myths may be, Bradley did in fact become an American legend and a Palm Beach Icon.
THE PALM BEACH LEGEND
In Palm Beach, Bradley operated his popular (and illegal) casino called The Beach Club for over 50 years. He would purchase media outlets such as the Palm Beach Post, Palm Beach Times and Palm Beach Daily News in 1934. He opened his Beach Club in 1898, just four years after Henry Flagler made Palm Beach a synonym for turn-of-the century indulgence.
Bradley’s club was renowned for its cuisine, but that wasn’t the draw. The white clapboard building on Royal Poinciana Way attracted tycoons who thought nothing of plunking down hundreds of thousands of dollars at the tables. It was a private club with a cadre of security guards. Membership was a who’s who.