"Alligator Joe" Campbell - Jacksonville, FL
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Marine Biologist
N 30° 22.029 W 081° 39.000
17R E 437540 N 3359648
Quick Description: The grave stone of "Alligator Joe" Campbell is marked by (what else?) an alligator! It's located in Evergreen Cemetery in Jacksonville, Florida, USA.
Location: Florida, United States
Date Posted: 9/27/2008 2:17:43 PM
Waymark Code: WM4TBD
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member BruceS
Views: 39

Long Description:
"Alligator Joe" Campbell was the originator of alligator farming in America and the owner of the former Florida Alligator Farm in Jacksonville, Florida.

A 2006 River City News article provides the following information about "Alligator Joe."

Joe's real name was Hubert and he was born in India in 1872, his father a decorated English officer. His passion was alligators and after his Wild West days and a stint of ostrich riding and training, he chose to live in Jacksonville, where, for all his showmanship, he was a well-respected naturalist.

Due to the drainage of the Everglades and other state development, 2.5 million alligators were reportedly killed in the 1880s. Commercial hunters and gun-happy tourists helped decrease the population. There seemed to be no better fun than killing gators while cruising on a steamboat.

Although Campbell also hunted alligators, because he feared their extinction he merged with Jacksonville's ostrich farm, the best in the country. By adding his gator collection to the lanky menagerie, he could study and breed both species.

In 1912, when 200 ostriches strode into their new billet at Phoenix Park, Alligator Joe and his patient pod of gators were already awaiting the bubble-bottomed birds. This lively tourist destination, Florida's original theme park, percolated east of Jacksonville at Talleyrand Avenue, near Evergreen Cemetery and the river.

Ostrich racing was a great sport of the era as contemporary ads and postcards indicate. So, to prevent hurt feelings and jealousy, Campbell likewise trained his gators to race and to carry riders. The alligators' education extended to climbing and to waltzing. While the reptiles and ostriches were not competitive, they spent little time together, promoting ostrich longevity.

In 1907, the Dixieland Park exposition and resort opened at the ferry landing in South Jacksonville, where Alligator Joe, some ostriches and alligators, together with electric fountains, burros, bands and theater productions, were major attractions. The reptiles climbed ladders, slid down chutes and carted children on their broad, rough backs. Campbell was also becoming famous in the movies and newsreels for his alligator shenanigans and study of the creatures.

In 1916, the Ostrich Farm and Alligator Farm, in some queer arc, shifted across the river to South Jacksonville on the site of the Aetna Insurance building, originally Prudential Insurance. Campbell and his wife, Sadie, lived on a houseboat near the southern end of the future Main Street Bridge.

In later years, Campbell wrote a pamphlet about alligators, which included explanations of his life and work. His early gator farming was in Palm Beach, Arkansas and California. By the time he developed his Jacksonville enterprise, hoping to discourage their cannibalistic tendencies, he separated his alligators by size into pens of 200 head, numbering in the thousands.

Alligator Joe died in 1926 at age 53. He is buried at Evergreen Cemetery with guess what marking his grave?

His headstone reads:

Hubert Ian Campbell
Born in Berhampur, India
June 10, 1872
Died in Jacksonville, Fla.
March 10, 1926
Beloved by All

Is Gravestone Showing Occupation or Hobby?: Both

What is depicted occupation or hobby?: Alligator farming

Date of birth: 06/10/1872

Date of death: 03/10/1926

Access hours and days:
Winter visiting hours:
7:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday
8:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Sunday

Summer visiting hours:
7:30 a.m.-7:00 p.m. Monday-Saturday
8:30 a.m.-7:00 p.m. Sunday


Visit Instructions:

Original picture of grave(nothing should be placed on grave stone).  Logs with pictures which are deemed to be inappropriate will be deleted.

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