my granddad had an elephant……..

Harini of The Long View wrote about elephants around her farm.  And I commented (of course) since I absolutely adore elephants…which brought about another comment from Harini then a post idea for me! i love the way WP works!

My grand dad (my dad’s father) was a rather colorful character.

Born in Charleston SC, married in Petersburg, Virginia and then living in Falls Church (a suburb of Washington DC) Granddad had numerous odd jobs until he finally began working for the Smithsonian Museum. His love of reptiles was a huge reason he got the job…he was in charge of the reptile house at the National Zoo.  The zoo during Granddad’s time was a placement for the animals brought back to the Smithsonian for their collections…and not open to the public.

I honestly do not know how my grand mother put up with the creatures that Pap (Grand dad) brought home. At one point he had seven pythons, a few cobras and a couple of boa constrictors at the house.  Not just snakes though, Pap also had a LOT of lizards, including a black dragon monitor lizard that was over four feet long.

Most of his snakes were becoming acclimated before placement in the zoo’s reptile house….but the monitor lizard stayed in the backyard for about seven years. Pap said it simply disappeared one day and he never saw it again, but “since no one is missing any dogs or goats i figure it died”.

Pap had a menagerie of odd creatures for a Washington suburb.  He had a camel (dromedary) and an elephant (Dolly) too. The elephant he purchased from a traveling circus that was closing down. I haven’t a clue where he got a camel. They aren’t native to Virginia, ya know.


Dolly was a neighborhood attraction…my dad would charge the neighborhood kids a nickle to ride Dolly, and a nickle was a LOT of money back in the  1920’s.  Pap loaned Dolly to the Barnum and Bailey Circus in 1930 when they were performing in Washington, as their Indian elephant had recently died.  Dolly eventually ended up at the Zoo with the rest of Pap’s assorted menagerie….but for a little over ten years, Falls Church, Virginia was home to a pet elephant.

6 thoughts on “my granddad had an elephant……..

  1. You know, I would of enjoyed that!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s awesome! He sounds like quite a character. The farm across the road from has camels. It’s so strange to see, but there they are, grazing around with mules and goats and cows. 😃

    Liked by 1 person

    1. camels are so cool……..

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s bizarre to see one on a farm in KY though. He had a rescued water buffalo for a while too, but it’s been gone several years now. And he trains mules to pull those small Conestoga wagons in parades and such. He’s a funny dude. 😃

        Liked by 1 person

  3. What an amazing story, Suze! Your grand dad does not merit a blog post. He merits a book. Now go and write it! And that’s one more piece of the jigsaw of Suze, the amazing lady.

    Liked by 2 people

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