Monday, April 20, 2009

Old Joe at Wakulla Springs

In the lobby of the lodge at Wakulla Springs State park, sits a giant stuffed alligator. Old Joe was a long time resident of the springs, perhaps for as long as 300 years. The 11 foot gator had a reputation for laying on the bottom of the springs, but never threatened any of the swimmers. In the 1960s, someone crept past the fence that the owner of the property had erected across the Wakulla River, and killed Old Joe, the benign guardian of the deep. So Old Joe was stuffed and put on display in the lobby of the Lodge.

The lobby is fairly untouched from contemporary remodeling, a rarity in Florida. The beams supporting the second floor have wonderful artwork painted by a German artisan. Throughout the lobby are interesting backlit photo displays that have cracked and aged over time. And the elevator is said to be the oldest in operation in the state.

If you're near the panhandle of the state, the Wakulla Springs is worth a visit, just to feel like you've stepped back in time in the lobby. But don't take the elevator unless you've got plenty of time on your hands!

elevator detail

Old Joe and fireplace images from the State Archives of Florida


  1. I love Wakulla Springs

  2. Rick I stayed here a couple of years ago. A really cool slice of Old Florida!

  3. This is the sie where "Creature from the Black Lagoon" was filmed,

  4. Patrick B Raines. My wife and I stayed here in May (2016). Fabulous location, friendly staff & that elevator is worth the visit alone, let alone the wild life. We even got to see the very elusive, very tiny, Black Rail!