Jefferson Hotel's Legendary Lizards Remembered
Statue of Jefferson and an Alligator in the lobby.
Yes Virginia, there were lizards in the lobby. Sometime around 1906 to 1907, Alligators were placed in the marble ponds surrounding the statue of the purchaser of Louisiana. Unlike the Peabody ducks, gators didn't quite catch on as lobby animals. The last of the Jefferson gators, 'Old Pompey,' died in 1948.
Tradition has it that the gator population was kept alive by Richmonders who bought baby alligators as pets in Florida. When the animals became too large for Mom's comfort they would be quietly added to the hotel's collection.
Today the gators are remembered in bronze in various places around the hotel.