Daddy's Christmas Angel

Friday, June 22, 2012

Alligators in the Jefferson Hotel Lobby

Bronze Alligator at Jefferson Hotel - MMSikes
 Years ago, guests at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Virginia weren't greeted at entrance door by a bronze alligator as they are today. Instead, they got to meet the real thing!

It seems that when the hotel reopened following a 1901 fire that ruined about 60% of the structure, live alligators took up residence in the lobby next to the Thomas Jefferson statue. According to legend, guests who had brought alligators home from Florida as pets discovered they grew too big for bathtubs and would leave them at the hotel. Apparently it was the bellman's responsibility to remove the alligators from furniture when he came on duty early each morning.

Old Pompey, the last of the alligators, died in 1948. It is his statue that now greets guests! The hotel gift shop honors his memory by using the name "Gators" and selling a variety of little alligator creatures and cards.

Do you know of another hotel that once housed alligators or other wild creatures? A number of hotels I've visited in Florida and in the Caribbean keep parrots and other birds on the premises.

Please follow The Corner Cafe Blog Book Tour next week. Here's the schedule:

June 26 SB Lerner
June 28 Mary Montague Sikes


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

When the gators were still alive, that would've been wild to see when visiting the hotel!

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

I don't think that could happen now! Thanks for the comment, Alex.

The Stiletto Gang said...

In many hotel lobbies in the Hawaiian islands you're liable to come across parrots and other gorgeous birds. I've been in lots of hotels and never seen anything close to an alligator in a lobby.

The Stiletto Gang said...

Oh, dear, the Stiletto Gang is me, in this case--I didn't switch out of that blog before posting.


Lesley Diehl said...

I loved reading about the history of the bronze alligator. I write a mystery series set in rural Florida and alligators abound in it--great dramatic effect. They get your attention, for sure.

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

Thanks, Marilyn for your comment. It got me over to the Stiletto Gang to visit.

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

Thanks, Lesley, for your comment. Old rural Florida is so different from the bustling, often bizarre beaches we usually think of when visiting there. Greeting a bronze alligator is quite different from the real thing, I suspect.

Unknown said... will be helpful for my hotel furniture designing...