S. Bobo Dean, an Alabama native, left a military academy at age 17 when his father died, and worked in the newspaper business to support his siblings. Dean came to Juno in 1893, where he worked for Guy Metcalf’s weekly, The Tropical Sun. He and his brother Joel opened an office in the Royal Poinciana Hotel and in 1896 bought the damaged plant of the three-year-old Gazetteer, the first paper in West Palm Beach, when it was burned out. The Deans published The Weekly Lake Worth News and added The Daily Lake Worth News in 1897, which they renamed Palm Beach Daily News in 1899.
Although the weekly newspaper was discontinued in 1908, the four-page, five-cent Palm Beach Daily News became the only daily paper between St. Augustine and Key West, and is still one of the oldest in Florida. Dean Publishing Company started printing the Daily News on expensive glossy stock in 1905, earning it the nickname “The Shiny Sheet.” Although the type of paper was later changed to reduce costs, the name stuck.
Henry Flagler was the majority stockholder in the Palm Beach Daily News and eventually bought out the Dean brothers. His publisher, Richard Overend Davies, hired a teenaged cashier named Ruby Edna Pierce, who rose to general manager by 1910, a position she held for 44 years.
Guy Metcalf followed the Deans from Juno to fast-growing West Palm Beach, moving his equipment by barge. The Tropical Sun reopened at the corner of Clematis and Olive avenues in the Italian-style Metcalf Building, which later became part of the Burdines department store. In 1902 Metcalf, like the Deans, sold his business to Flagler (the Model Land Company).
© Historical Society of Palm Beach County.