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Johnnie Brown, South Florida’s Famous Jazz Age Monkey

Join me for an A to Z Road Trip!

I’m taking you on a road trip with me by sharing travel photos for this year’s A to Z Blog Challenge. So come along as we explore some of my favorite offbeat, overlooked and just plain interesting places in Texas… and beyond!


Today is letter J:
Johnnie Brown, the Jazz Age Monkey

Monkey grave at Pizza al Fresco in Palm Beach, FL (photo by Tui Snider)
Monkey grave at Pizza al Fresco in Palm Beach, FL (photo by Tui Snider)

Monkey on one shoulder, a parrot on the other

Throughout the Roaring Twenties, Addison Mizner was an eccentric south Florida architect and man about town. Of his many quirks, Mizner was especially known for his menagerie, which included raccoons, macaws, and anteaters.

Mizner lived on Worth Avenue in Palm Beach, Florida which is now an upscale shopping street with a labyrinthine maze of gorgeous garden courtyards. His lavish dwelling had a large iron gate and trapdoors for dropping boiling oil on trespassers!


Monkey grave at Pizza al Fresco in Palm Beach, FL (photo by Tui Snider)
Monkey grave at Pizza al Fresco in Palm Beach, FL (photo by Tui Snider)

Famous Jazz Age Monkey

Mizner’s favorite pet was a spider monkey named Johnnie Brown. The architect often stepped out with Johnnie Brown on one shoulder and a parrot on the other. It must have been quite a sight!

I’m not sure why he was known as “the human monkey,” but Johnnie Brown certainly had a lot of personality. When he wasn’t happily cavorting through the foliage and vines of Via Mizner, he enjoyed stalking the milkman so he could sneakily pop the caps off of his deliveries.
In 1925, Johnnie Brown was even invited to the Scopes Monkey Trial!
One of many garden courtyards along Worth Avenue (photo by Tui Snider)
One of many garden courtyards along Worth Avenue (photo by Tui Snider)

Buried at an Italian Restaurant

When Johnnie Brown died, Addison Mizner buried him in his courtyard and marked the spot for the “human monkey” with a headstone befitting a human.

See for yourself:

As you can see from the photo at the top of this post, the grave of Johnnie Brown is now part of the outdoor dining area at Pizza al Fresco (14 Via Mizner, Palm Beach, Florida.) On the day I visited, the lovely courtyard bustled with diners enjoying the shady outdoor seating on a beautiful winter day in Florida.
To see more photos of the beautiful gardens and architecture of Worth Avenue, in Palm Beach, Florida, click this link: Worth Avenue – photos by Tui Snider.


*****I hope you enjoyed today’s post. Come back tomorrow for the next letter in the alphabet!*****


Psst! Instagram, anyone?

If you are on Instagram, I’d be delighted to follow you! Simply follow my photo feed (@TuiSnider) on Instagram and I’ll follow you back!

What is the April A to Z Blog Challenge?


Each April, bloggers from all over the world participate in the April A to Z blog challenge, and you can too. It’s a lot of fun and it’s a great way to meet other bloggers.

To play along, all you do is make a blog post for each letter of the alphabet during April, then use the blog hop linky to visit as many other bloggers as you can. In addition to my personal blog here, I’m also writing A to Z posts for the the Story Dam writing community. You can check those out by clicking here: Story Dam’s Writing Quotes & Encouragement

Check out more April A to Z Blog Challenge Participants by clicking the link below:

Find out more about the April A to Z blog challenge, and check out the other participants!


Curious about my books? I’ve got 3, so far…

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



Hey, you! Want to come along for the ride?

No matter where you live in the galaxy, Tui's books can take you on a FUN adventure!
No matter where you live in the galaxy, Tui Snider’s books can take you on a FUN adventure!

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  1. I love all those early southern Floridians who lived life by their own codes. What fun to know about this monkey and his influence on a famous trial.

    [I found you via the #AtoZChallenge. The letter “J” seems to have brought out the jazz in everyone today.]

  2. What a fun post! Pizza and a monkey grave? I’m in. I loved the part about the invitation to the Scopes Monkey Trial. It brought me back to my Inherit the Wind teaching days.

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