El Paso, Texas: Alligator Park aka Plaza de los Lagartos

RoadsideAmerica.com Team Field Report

San Jacinto Plaza

Address:
N Mesa St., El Paso, TX
Directions:
San Jacinto Plaza. In the heart of downtown El Paso, between Mesa Street and Oregon Street.
Hours:
May 2014: Park closed until 2015.
Admission:
Free.
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Plaza of the Alligators. Alligator Park aka Plaza de los Lagartos
A commemorative sculpture recreates the live, leaping alligator pond that El Paso had downtown into the 1960s. Note: Park closed for renovations until 2015. Roadsideamerica.com Report... [08/20/2010]

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Alligator Park aka Plaza de los Lagartos

Downtown's San Jacinto Plaza was home to alligators from 1883 to the 1960s. In the old days, people weren't sure if alligators could the survive the chilly winter nights, so humane (and probably drunk) gentlemen would snatch the gators from the pond at the park, wrap them in coffee sacks, and haul them back to the saloon. There, the grateful critters enjoyed a cozy night behind the potbelly stove. In the morning, the gentlemen would return the alligators to the park, break the ice with their bootheels, untie and unwrap the animals, and pitch them back into the water. Eventually, hijinks from the college and military population persuaded the city fathers to do away with the toothy attractions. Today, there is a very large commemorative statue of the beloved gators at the plaza. There is also a very large population of pigeons, kooks, vagrants, and street-preachers. Great for people-watching.

[John H Russell, 05/25/2003]

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October 22, 2014

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