The History of the Bradley Hall Antique and Gift Shoppe in Iowa

About the House

Completed in 1909, D.C. Bradley’s home was built at 519 Drake, along Centerville’s “Gold Coast” area. With 10,000 square feet and 22 rooms, depending on how you count them, the Bradley home became the social center of Centerville, complete with a ballroom on the third floor.

The D.C. Bradley residence was featured in the July-August 1921 issue of Country Homes magazine. The article’s author described the home’s massively built walls, high chimneys, clerestory and hip roof as Dutch Colonial, with definite Japanese influence in the “saucy curl outwards of the roof at the eves,” an effect that is “harmonious, both artistically and historically.”

Inside, there is an abundance of treasures, such as beautifully stained and leaded glass doors and windows, massively beamed ceilings, mahogany paneled walls, cut-glass-candelabra, mosaic tile and hard wood floors, cedar-lined closets, Corinthian columns. French doors, four fireplaces, and a mahogany-railed grand staircase, frescoed ceilings and built in china and linen closets. Outside stands the carriage house, reminiscent of horse drawn carriages filled with family and friends arriving under the portico. In its day, the home’s grounds featured large formal gardens with masses of flowers and shade and ornamental trees. A hothouse, complete with its own stained glass windows, contributed to the upkeep of the grounds.

Through the years, the Bradley mansion served as a private residence, a nursing home, classrooms for college and elementary students and administrative offices for the Centerville Community Schools. In 1998, Morgan Cline, an East coast advertising executive with local roots, purchased the house from the public schools. January through August of 1999 was the renovation stage. Partitions and fluorescent lights came down, the woodwork was cleaned, the wood floors were refinished, walls were painted and papered, carpet was scraped off the tile flooring and the ceramic tile roof was removed, repaired and in some areas, replaced. Mr. Cline’s philanthropic vision of Bradley Hall was to preserve it indefinitely and in a fashion that would allow it to be enjoyed by all. Thus evolved The Shoppes At Bradley Hall.

About the Past

In 1858, William Bradley opened a bank on the Northeast corner of the Centerville Square. By 1870, he had banks in Southern Iowa and Northern Missouri. William and his wife had four children: David Campbell, Olive A., James A. and William Jr.

David Campbell (D.C.) Bradley was well educated, having attended Parsons College in Fairfield, Iowa and graduating from Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois. He married Cora M. Stubbs of Fairfield and had two children, Williams S. and Bettina (who died during the flu epidemic in 1917).

D.C. and his brother, J.A. came to jointly own several banks in this area. D.C. was a liberal giver to the community and helped support the Interurban Rail System, the Iowa Southern Utilities Company, the Pure Ice Company and the Centerville Brick Yard. He was heavily vested in agriculture and mining, both of which were booming prior to 1925, then peaked and began to decline. When D.C. had a stroke in 1927, he sold his interests in the banks. J.A. managed to keep the banks solvent through the depression but D.C. went bankrupt and died in 1928 at the age of 69 in his mansion. It is said, he died of a broken heart.

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