The Ostrich Farm was located next to the Alligators

In 1907, Alligator Joe met Francis Earnest, a one-time mining camp cook, and they decided to move the exhibit to Southern California by railcar. They hung a banner over the side of the train advertising the Los Angeles Alligator Farm and unloaded the animals at the corner of Mission Road and Lincoln Park Avenue in the Lincoln Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles. Earnest already owned the Ostrich Farm next door.

As Harris describes it, Lincoln Heights was a popular weekend getaway 100 years ago for local Angelinos. Visitors entered the Farm through a white stucco building with a narrow, two-story columned portico. They would stop and pay the 25 cent admission fee. Of course, they would also have the opportunity to buy all sorts of reptilian trinkets including rubber alligators.

Toward the end, the Farm was sold to the private estate of Arthur Jones, the Florida inventor of the Nautilus sports equipment. The Farm lasted until 1984 when the lease on the property was not renewed. The animals were moved to a private preserve in Florida. Going out in style, the closing activities featured a five day rodeo catching all the alligators, crocodiles, and caiman. Today, the former site of the California Alligator Farm in Buena Park is still empty and the only monument is a single pictorial tile set into a Pershing Square bench at 5th and Hill Streets in downtown Los Angeles.

Do you remember the Alligator Farm? Or better yet, have family photos to share?

Sam Gennawey is an urban planner, historian, and author.

If you enjoy reading SAMLAND, you'll love his book. Walt and the Promise of Progress City is a detailed look into how Walt Disney envisioned the future of communities. Along the way, we explore many facets of a fascinating man.

<iframe marginheight="0" src=" 00&lc1=0000FF&t=micechat-20&o=1&p=8&l=as4&m=amazon&f=ifr&ref=ss_til&asins=0 615540244" marginwidth="0" style="width: 120px; height: 240px; " frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe>

Follow Samland on Facebook and Twitter.