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Trapper Nelson Homestead

Born Vincent (or Victor) Nostokovich, "Trapper Nelson" came to Florida in the 1930's. An avid outdoorsman, he originally made his living selling furs, hence his nickname. After purchasing about 800 acres of land along the Loxahatchee River, Nelson set up a little zoo of local animals and encouraged boat captains to bring tourists, who paid an admission fee to see the captive wildlife, the homestead, and to watch Nelson wrestle alligators. Later in his life, Nelson became suspiscious, and even paranoid of people trying to steal his land, and discouraged visiting using his shotgun as a deterrent. He built a dam on river and fenced in access points. His curious death (ruled a suicide) was the talk of the town in the late 1960's.

What remains is a well-preserved look at how the man lived. Several buildings still stand, as well as the animal cages and pits from his zoo. The site features a variety of native flora, with at least ten fruit types. It's a little dull for anyone seeking action and excitement, but it is an interesting look at pioneer life.

The site, located within the boundaries of Jonathan Dickinson State Park, is accessible only by boat. River tours run from Jonathan Dickinson State Park, and the Trapper Nelson site is open Wednesday through Sunday, 9AM-5PM. You can also visit on your own boat, but t should be fairly small - our 17' Hewes Tarpon barely makes it through some spots during low tide, and it's not uncommon for us to ground out by going the wrong way - oops! Canoes and kayaks are available for rental at the State Park.


Loxahatchee River
Hobe Sound FL

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