Friday, April 1, 2011

Florida History: Palm Beach - Alligator Joe and his Worth Avenue alligator farm

Worth Aveune today - without the alligator farm

By Jane Feehan

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Palm Beach once had its share of offbeat attractions. In the early 1900s, the west end of what became posh Worth Avenue was home to Alligator Joe’s Farm.

Alligator Joe, or Warren Frazier (some say Frazee) entertained winter visitors with a collection of alligators he often wrestled.  A story in the New York Times, March 3, 1907, claims Alligator Joe dragged one of the creatures into the ocean for a battle.  

NY Times, Mar. 3, 1907
He towed a crocodile weighing 200 pounds well out into the Atlantic Ocean, had a wrestling match with it, mounted it bareback, and brought it back to shore … The reptile toward the end appeared to be completely fagged, but Frazier showed no exhaustion.

Alligator Joe entertained Palm Beach visitors in other ways.  In 1898, he took Sir Edward and Lady Colbrooke of England on a hunt for an alligator. He successfully bagged one more than 11 feet long and was paid $25 for his services. The animal was taken to a taxidermist where it was stuffed, mounted and otherwise readied for a trip to the Colbrooke’s home in England (Miami News, Feb. 18, 1898).   
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Tags: Florida history, Palm Beach history, Alligator Joe, early Florida attractions, Florida in the early 1900s

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