americanguide:

Everglades Gatorland

Tracing an arterial route through the heart of Florida, US 27 begins in Miami’s Little Havana and ends in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The highway was a main drag of Florida tourism from the ‘40s to the ‘60s, but as the interstate system grew to connect the Gulf to the Atlantic and the Mouse to Miami, the distended polygon encompassing Lake Okeechobee and the northern Everglades increasingly became a locals-only landmass. Big Sugar thrived regardless, but the mom and pop tourist stands of old were not so fortunate.

On US 27, just south of the tiny town of South Bay, sit the crumbling ruins of Everglades Gatorland. J.C. Bowen—the former proprietor and ex-mayor of South Bay—started the joint as a gas station with his wife, Mary Lou. They moved into the live reptile sideline because snowbirds stopping to top off their tanks would often ask where they could catch a glimpse of a real Florida alligator. The menagerie eventually expanded beyond alligators to include deer, ocelots and a vulture, among other animals. Bowen also acquired a few rattlesnakes, despite the fact that they were not native to the swampy land of the ‘glades. In Bowen’s words: “The rattlesnake is a very nervous animal, and the muck soil vibrates for miles around if a tractor drives over a field. The vibrations are too much for him.”

With the tourist trade already on the wane, Everglades Gatorland lost a few of its alligators in 1965. The animals were shot with a .22 and carried off while the night watchman was off duty, likely by poachers eager to cash in on increasingly high prices for increasingly rare alligator leather. The American Alligator was declared an endangered species just two years later in 1967.

That same year, Florida enacted regulations mandating pen size, sanitation and animal care that put many of the state’s roadside zoos out of business. The Bowens’ establishment managed to hang on into the early ‘90s, but by then all the gators were gone. The only inhabitants left were a few peacocks and the Bowens–then in their 70s–still selling souvenirs to the rare tourist who wandered astray from the beaten paths of coastal asphalt.

Ten years later, the building sinks into a glorious ruin. The faded and peeling promise of “Live Alligators” may, in fact, still ring true if you wander far enough back on the property. Your Guide encourages you to visit, but takes no responsibility for your safety.

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Erin Chapman is the co-founder/editor of The American Guide.

(Source: americanguide)

pbsthisdayinhistory:

July 11, 1804: Aaron Burr kills Alexander Hamilton
On this day in 1804, Vice President Aaron Burr killed long-time political rival and former Secretary of Treasury, Alexander Hamilton in a duel. After years of quarreling, the men met on dueling grounds in Weehawken, New Jersey. Both men fired one shot from a .56 caliber pistol. After the shot, Burr was unharmed while Alexander Hamilton was mortally wounded, a died a day later. Aaron Burr would be charged with murder in both New York and New Jersey.

Visit American Experience’s timeline of the events leading to the duel.
Image: Photographic reproduction of painting by J. Mund of the Hamilton-Burr duel (Wikimedia Commons).

pbsthisdayinhistory:

July 11, 1804: Aaron Burr kills Alexander Hamilton

On this day in 1804, Vice President Aaron Burr killed long-time political rival and former Secretary of Treasury, Alexander Hamilton in a duel. After years of quarreling, the men met on dueling grounds in Weehawken, New Jersey. Both men fired one shot from a .56 caliber pistol. After the shot, Burr was unharmed while Alexander Hamilton was mortally wounded, a died a day later. Aaron Burr would be charged with murder in both New York and New Jersey.

Visit American Experience’s timeline of the events leading to the duel.

Image: Photographic reproduction of painting by J. Mund of the Hamilton-Burr duel (Wikimedia Commons).

You don’t ever have to feel guilty about removing toxic people from your life. It doesn’t matter whether someone is a relative, romantic interest, employer, childhood friend, or a new acquaintance — you don’t have to make room for people who cause you pain or make you feel small. It’s one thing if a person owns up to their behavior and makes an effort to change. But if a person disregards your feelings, ignores your boundaries, and continues to treat you in a harmful way, they need to go.

Daniell Koepke (via sorakeem)

(Source: internal-acceptance-movement)

Let the record show: that you can be a United States senator for 21 years, you can be 79 years old, you can be the Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and one of the most recognizable and most widely respected veteran public servants in your nation. But if you are female while you are also all of those other things, men who you defeat in arguments will still respond to you by calling you hysterical and telling you to calm down. They will patronize you and say they ‘admire your passion, sweetie,’ but of course they only deal in facts, not your silly girly strong feelings. It is inescapable, you can set your watch by it.

Rachel Maddow, discussing Senator Ted Cruz’s condescending lecture to Senator Dianne Feinstein during a Senate debate on gun control. March 14, 2013. (via kateoplis)

(Source: mamaatheist)