While President Herbert Hoover had his share of pets, his second son Allan Henry Hoover had a pair to beat them all. Allan Hoover was gifted two alligators by Clarence Woolley – which were often seen roaming about on the White House grounds. According to the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, the alligators were normally kept in a bathtub, but often escaped.
In 1921, letters between First Lady Lou Henry Hoover and her secretary Philippi Harding indicate that Allan and his father “Bert” built a pond for Allan’s alligators at the Hoovers’ 2300 South Street…but a second pond was discussed after the alligators chewed the tops off of all the water lilies. “Beauty and the Beast are not congenial,” Harding quipped.
In wintertime of 1921, Lou Hoover did manage to convince Allan to let his alligators winter at the nearby Washington Zoo, but they were soon back in the spring.
After several escape escapades, the alligators were donated to the Smithsonian Zoo.