Martin Digital History

Browse Items (35 total)

  • https://images.martindigitalhistory.org/temp/HSMC-2023-018-4-a-057.jpg

    A dead alligator hangs from a tree by a rope tied around its jaw. Cans and other trash litter the ground near the alligator. Poor copy.
  • https://images.martindigitalhistory.org/temp/HSMC-2023-018-4-005.jpg

    Back of photo reads "A cracker with baby alligator in his teeth."
  • https://images.martindigitalhistory.org/temp/HSMC-2023-018-4-004.jpg

    Back of photo reads "Hal with a pair of little alligators."
  • https://images.martindigitalhistory.org/temp/Thurlow-2023-017-2-025.jpg

    Seminole man wrestling an alligator.
  • https://images.martindigitalhistory.org/temp/HSMC-2023-012-5-HP2-091.jpg

    Man in traditional Seminole dress next to alligator on its back.

    "Ugly Will Bill's Indian Village and zoo" opened in 1937, a roadside tourist attraction created by Bill and Bessie Meredith as an addition to their gas station was established. The "Indian village" included two married couples and several children. One of the men, Richard Osceola, demonstrated alligator wrestling. The tourist attraction also included a small zoo with an alligator (transported from Ward's Camp in Jensen Beach in 1937), monkeys, racoons, squirrels, possums, snakes, and a lion as well as a lunchroom and gift shop.

    In 1939, it's noted that Osceola's infant daughter, Juanita, died in Tampa at the DeSoto exhibition, and that he was the official interpreter for the Brighton reservation. It is unknown if the "Indian village" part of the tourist attraction continued.

    By 1941, Meredith encountered a series of issues, including Martin County wanting him to move his buildings back from the road for enlargement, a fired manager refusing to leave, the hotel inspector demanding rats and cockroaches be killed, and his old alligator killing a new alligator. By August 1944, it's mentioned that his main line of business was operating coin operated music and amusement machines, with an office in the Kruger Building. He and Bessie moved to Soperton, Georgia at the end of 1947, where he operated Peach State Music Company until his death in a car wreck in June 1949.
  • https://images.martindigitalhistory.org/temp/HSMC-2023-012-5-on-016.jpg

    Crowd of mostly children look over a wall into a pit of alligators.
  • https://images.martindigitalhistory.org/temp/HSMC-2023-012-1-072.jpg

    Jerome Twitchell Jr. and wife Beatrice Clearman. His father, Jerome Twitchell Sr. owned the house Daphne on Sewell's Point. Blurry.
  • https://images.martindigitalhistory.org/temp/HSMC-2023-008-221.jpg

    Alligators in a pen, building with sign: "Tropical Garden Alligators." Probably Coppinger's Tropical Gardens.
  • https://images.martindigitalhistory.org/temp/HSMC-2023-008-177.jpg

    Many alligators in a large pit, surrounded by walkways.
  • https://images.martindigitalhistory.org/temp/HSMC-2023-008-112.jpg

    Two men skinning an alligator, Charley Pierce on right.
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