The History of One of Miami's First Tourist Attractions: Alligator Joe’s

  • Miami Heritage Month
  • December 1 - December 31
Alligator Head
An Miami alligator

By: Sarah Eaton

Today’s Spring Garden Historic District first became known to the general public when a popular tourist attraction known as “Alligator Joe’s” opened in the late 1890s where the Miami River meets the Seybold Canal.

Alligator Joe’s, however, was short-lived. Prominent Miami baker and businessman John Seybold purchased the property and advertised Spring Garden as “the most exclusive subdivision in Miami” when he offered the first lots for sale in 1919. Spring Garden remains today as the city’s oldest intact single-family neighborhood along the Miami River.

The most notable house in Spring Garden was inspired by Hollywood and is known as the Hindu Temple. It is located at 870 NW 11th St., at the mouth of the Seybold Canal. An elaborate temple was among the temporary sets built for “The Jungle Trail,” one of the first movies filmed in Miami. The temple captured the imagination of the residents of the city, and John Seybold built a permanent version of the building on the site of the original movie set after filming ended in 1919.

The “humpback” bridge over the Seybold Canal at Northwest 7th Street is another neighborhood landmark.

If you go…

Spring Garden is located between Northwest 11th Street and the Miami River from the Seybold Canal to 12th Avenue.

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