The Beach Club as seen from the north wing of the Hotel Royal Poinciana ca 1925. Bradley's house (rounded facade) is in the upper left corner. The rambling barracks that housed the employees during the three-month season stretch along the length of the north side of the club.
Courtesy- Historical Society of Palm Beach County
The only known attempt to draw a layout of The Beach Club was done in the early 1950's by author Theodore Pratt after touring the building while it was being dismantled and sold for parts. Pratt, a meticulous researcher, scribbled written notes and quick sketches of interior details to be used in The Flame Tree. His notes were invaluable during my research- there are none like them- but they're frustrating little glimpses lacking important details.
And no wonder- there was really nothing notable about the building. Writers mentioned the color scheme- white paneled walls with green trim that matched the silks worn by the racehorses and jockeys from Col. Bradley's Idle Hours Farm in Kentucky. The sumptuous silk curtains were the same shade of green. So were the thick carpets that blanketed the whole place.
Pratt teamed up with an architect and produced his floor plan based on photographs and his personal recollection. The plan itself was vague and mostly inaccurate. But key parts of the puzzle can only be found in his notes.
|The Beach Club in 1924. The front of the dining room facing the lakefront is 66' long. Each side of the octagonal entry measures 8'. Furnishings are not to scale.|
Pratt described the double pillars connected by walls and arches in the Ballroom. He describes how gaming tables were place in front of them and the bells that were installed in the walls behind the dealers that could be used to summon cashiers etc. My layout of the Ballroom is based mostly on Pratt's notes. So is the location of the coatroom - off the main hallway that led past a dining room to the Ballroom (and stairs and eventually an elevator that led to more dining/gaming rooms on the second floor.)
Opposite the coatroom was the "Palm Room" (potted palms was another theme running through the entire place.) Pratt describes as having two large doorways off the main corridor "separated by a column and two very large windows on either side topped with fancy grillwork.
Part of that wall was once the exterior which might explain all the doors and windows.