2 Graves at an Italian Restaurant?
Voted #3 in a list of the Top 10 Iconic Streets in the USA, Worth Avenue is an upscale shopping street in the resort town of Palm Beach, Florida.
So why are there two graves on Worth Avenue – one for a monkey and the other for a dog – tucked away in the courtyard of an Italian restaurant?
Jazz Age eccentric: Addison Mizner
It all starts with Addison Mizner (1872-1933) a quirky architect who settled in South Florida in 1918 after having lived all over the world, including China, New York, Guatemala, Alaska, and California.
Mizner’s architectural designs made a tremendous impact on South Florida. While builders prior to him based their designs on wood and shingles, Mizner’s “Mediterranean Revival” style favored tile, stucco, and stone.
Not only are Mizner’s buildings beautiful, with a real European flavor, but they withstand hurricanes better than wood and are well-ventilated (a real plus in an era before air-conditioning.) Mizner soon made a fortune designing opulent mansions and social clubs throughout the region.
Monkey on one shoulder, a parrot on the other
Throughout the Roaring Twenties Addison Mizner was an eccentric man about town, known for his menagerie which included raccoons, macaws, and anteaters. Mizner lived on Worth Avenue in Palm Beach, which is now an upscale shopping street with a labyrinthine maze of garden courtyards. His lavish dwelling had a large iron gate and trapdoors for dropping boiling oil on trespassers!
In addition to Johnnie Brown, Mizner had two other spider monkeys, Ethel and Deuteronomy. Johnnie Brown, however, was Mizner’s favorite. The architect often stepped out with Johnnie Brown on one shoulder and a parrot on the other.
Johnnie Brown’s grave
Johnnie BrownThe Human MonkeyDied April 30, 1927
Our LaddieApril 19, 1949Dec 1 1959We miss you so
Monkey & dog ghosts?
For more information:
Historic Cemetery Symbolism:
I am currently writing a field guide to historic cemetery symbolism. Each week, I share a small snippet from my upcoming book, as well as my travels to interesting graveyards and the stories behind unusual burials around the world.
It’s my goal to create a handy-dandy pocket guide for taphophiles, genealogists, ghost hunters, and anyone else interested in the historic graveyard symbols that have become forgotten over the years.
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To read about more weird, offbeat, and overlooked places, check out my best-selling travel guide:
UNEXPECTED TEXAS: Your Guide to Offbeat & Overlooked History, Day Trips & Fun Things to do near Dallas & Fort Worth.
For ghost hunting hot spots, check out my best-selling travel guide to haunted places:
PARANORMAL TEXAS: Your Travel Guide to Haunted Places near Dallas & Fort Worth.
For a strange-but-true tale of Texas history, check out this bizarre piece of West Texas history:
The Lynching of the Santa Claus Bank Robber
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Tui Snider is an author, speaker, and photographer who specializes in North Texas travel, cemetery symbols, and haunted lore. As she puts it, “I used to write fiction – but then, I moved to Texas!”
Snider’s best-selling books include Paranormal Texas , Understanding Cemetery Symbols, and 100 Things to Do in Dallas - Fort Worth Before You Die.