Located in the Lincoln Heights neighborhood, Los Angeles, CA, the farm was both a major tourist attraction and an alligator farm from the year 1907 to 1953. It was a popular getaway for the local Angelinos. Admission fee was 25 cents and they got an opportunity to purchase various forms of reptilian trinkets that included rubber alligators.
The alligators ranged in size at the farm and were segregated according to size in several ponds. Visitors got a bit too close and personal with the alligators which is a bit scary. Despite the fact that alligators are opportunistic hunters who snatch anyone that gets too close to the water, these families let their toddlers wander too close to the reptiles and play with them! Their dogs also played with the fully-grown alligators, despite their unpredictability no matter how tame.
There was a fence surrounding the entire property, but somehow students managed to use the alligators for fraternity pranks. Pledges were made by the students to steal alligators from the farm.
The alligators also managed to get field trips when rain flooded a reservoir nearby. Water would overflow into the farm and the alligators got an opportunity to swim in the Lincoln Park Lake. Others however, ended up in neighbor’s pools and backyards. Noise made by the alligators was another source of annoyance for the neighbors.
Some of the alligators starred in movies like the Tarzan films and wrestled actors in stunts. Billy was the most famous among them and was the oldest in the farm. He appeared in numerous films in the years between 1910 and 1940. This was because he could open his jaw reliably when a piece of chicken was dangled above him.
The farm eventually shut down when the annual attendance dropped below 50,000 in 1984. All animals were relocated to Florida, on a private estate.
[source:The Los Angeles Public Library ]