Member
Your donation supports our high-quality, inspiring and commercial-free programming.
Support Icon
Discover all the ways you can make a difference.
Support Icon
The Leadership, Advancement, Membership and Special Events teams are here to help.

A Trip to the California Alligator Farm in 1927

Support Provided By

This vintage film is proof that, yes, Los Angeles did indeed have an alligator farm. It opened in 1907 in Lincoln Heights near Mission Road. Hundreds of alligators of all sizes entertained the crowds. The big ones gave children rides, slipped down slides and spun in shallow ponds. When their time came, some had a second life as finely-crafted handbags and briefcases.

The California Alligator Farm was owned by Francis Earnest and Joe Campbell who made a good living from the thousands of humans who plunked down 25-cents to see the reptiles up close and personal. In 1953, the California Alligator Farm moved to Buena Park near Knott’s Berry Farm. It closed in 1984 after attendance dwindled.

This film footage from the Prelinger Archives was shot by William Horsley Film Labs in Hollywood in 1927. A lot has changed since then — namely a rise in lawsuits and liability insurance that would surely make this kind of enterprise impractical today.

Support Provided By
Read More
A composite photo of Charlotta Bass, left, and Miriam Matthews, right

These Two Women Spent Decades Highlighting the African Heritage of L.A.

Throughout the last century, two prominent African American women — Charlotta Bass and Miriam Matthews — consistently shone a light on the city's early African heritage, raising awareness of the Black heritage of the city's first settlers.
An aerial photo showing winding roads and homes laid out in an orderly fashion.

L.A.'s 'Black Beverly Hills' Still Threatened by Racist Past

Known as "Black Beverly Hills," View Park by becoming one of the largest, wealthiest and most architecturally distinct Black neighborhoods in Los Angeles. But it owes its significance to a complicated racial history.
 A map of Los Angeles City, 1867.

The Convoluted Logic of L.A.'s Numbered Avenues

As Los Angeles expanded, a need to clear up confusion for citizens came when duplicate numbered streets and avenues appeared throughout the city.