Sunday, July 23, 2017

#3 Elephant Rides


Richard Reynolds said...

Rosie the Elephant entertaining children in the 1920s in front of the former Flamingo Hotel at Miami beach , on the site of what is now the Grand Flamingo apartment building. Florida Photographic Collection

Developer and entrepreneur Carl Graham Fisher used the elephant Rosie to promote Miami Beach during the Florida land boom of the 1920s.

Fisher was an early entrepreneur in the emerging automobile industry and helped develop both the east-west Lincoln Highway and the midwest- south Dixie Highway. Enamored of Miami Beach, he became one of its leading real estate developers and promoters. Wikipedia says this about his elephant.

Ever the innovative promoter, Fisher seemed tireless in his efforts to draw attention to Miami Beach. Fisher acquired a baby elephant named Rosie, who was a favorite with newspapers. In 1921, he got free publicity all across the country with what we would call today a promotional "photo-op" of Rosie serving as a golf caddy for vacationing President-elect Warren Harding.

Fisher’s financial world collapsed on him the late 1920s, first with the bursting of the Miami real estate bubble in 1926 and then the stock market crash in 1929. So, in April 1932 he sold Rosie to Coca Cola heir Asa Candler, Jr. for Candler’s private zoo on his Atlanta estate. She arrived there on April 24th. The zoo opened to the public on August 13, 1932

Candler used her to give rides just as Fisher had done, using the same big cart. It makes sense that Fisher would also sell Candler the cart.

Candler decided to close his zoo in 1935. Around the beginning of April 1935 Rosie left for Honest Bill Newton's Walter Main show. She was with it through 1937, then Newton Bros. in '38, and Honest Bill in 1939. Ben Davenport got her for his 1940 Dailey Bros Circus where she trouped until her death in 1943.

She was an unusually tall female Asian.