Spring Valley Herald (November 12, 1936)


Rise to Wealth From
Humble Birth Is Epochal
Story of "Midas Touch"

    Although Ed Ballard's rise from humble surroundings to the pinnacle of wealth is well know locally, the midas touch was so fantastic that it bears repetition. Beginning as a bowling alley helper as a boy Ballard was taken under the wing of Lee. W. Sinclair, owner of the hotel, and put in charge of the casino.
    With the rise in popularity of West Baden and French Lick as playgrounds of America's wealthy society the casino probed a bonanza. Later he acquired an interest in Brown's, which became world famous as a gaming place in America.
    Every business venture that Ballard undertook turned out with magical success. He purchased every major circus in the United States, except Ringling Brothers and just before the depression began, sold out all these interest at a huge profit.
    Even as late as two or three years ago it is reported that a million or more bushels of wheat were bought at that commodity's low and sold shortly after at over twice it's purchase price.
    In addition to his business interests Ballard was the owner of a string of blooded show horses and annually entered them in the horse shows of the country capturing many prizes.
    In 1933 he closed the West Baden Springs Hotel and a year later made an outright gift of the building and land valued at over four million dollars to the Jesuits Order. The once famous hotel is now West Baden College where a hundred or more students study for the priesthood and teaching profession.
    A note of irony can be seen in the whim of fate which singled out this man for sensational accumulation of wealth and then climaxes his colorful career with a sensational and untimely death.


Services For Local Millionaire
Killed At Hot Springs
Is Impressive

    Last rites were held here last Monday afternoon for Edward Ballard, 63, millionaire sportsman of this place who was shot to death in a Hot Springs, Ark. hotel suite last Friday (November 6, 1936) by Robert Alexander of Detroit, a former business associate of Ballard's.
    Funeral services were conducted by the Rev. Fr. Donnelly, Rector of the West Baden College, in the atrium of the college building which was formerly the West Baden Springs Hotel.
    The body lay in state on the atrium from ten o'clock Monday morning until the funeral at two o'clock that afternoon. Hundreds of persons passed by the bier during these hours and returned or remained for the funeral services.
    The service was brief, but one of the most impressive that has ever been witnessed in the valley. The flower banked bier was flanked in either side by a solid phalanx of Jesuit students in clerical black as the funeral music of the choir of male voices accompanied by the chapel pipe organ reverberated through the rotunda.
    Father Donnelly, in a brief message read one of the psalms of David and dwelt on the benevolences of the deceased.
    The funeral cortage moved to Ames Cemetery, four miles east of French Lick where burial services were held. In the same cemetery lie his father, mother and three brothers.
    He is survived by his widow, one son, Charles Ballard, one daughter, Mary, a brother George and many other relatives.
    The funeral offered a striking contrast in the make up of its cosmopolitan crowd. Notables from the sports, business and political world, local business and professional men, laborers, acquaintances and friends both white and colored, the frankly curious and the morbid minded gathered to make up one of the largest and varied funeral crowds in local history.