Cranks My Tractor

Published: Thursday, April 25, 2013 at 09:38 AM.

There were also cheetahs and other exotic animals running around.  I’m not so sure about “safely interacting” with some of these creatures.  It reminds me a little of Jurassic Park.

Reading more about John Pedersen, I found that he and his wife were an incredible story by themselves.

Pedersen came to Florida from Racine, Wisconsin.  He was a fellow had struggled through many hard times early in his life.   John was a fellow who had fallen on hard times who always wanted an “African Safari” of his own.  After trying his hand at a number of things to keep his family fed through very rough times including the Great Depression, John found his “goldmine.”

Actually his wife, Lillian found it or found a way “to rope it in.”

Lillian was real handy with crafty things and started making these little fancy ropes she called “curtain tie-backs” out of scraps of material. They got real popular with her friends and neighbors.  Her husband, John after patenting the curtain tie-backs, went to Chicago and sold them to all the major Chicago department stores like Montgomery Ward and Sears Roebuck. With these contracts, the Unique Novelty Company was born and the Pedersen’s began dreaming about that African Safari again.

With the proceeds from the curtain tie-backs, John bought land around Racine where he constructed affordable housing for workers. His two bedroom houses cost $1000 to buy, and he built 70 houses for rental properties. He became well-known for his "one cents sale" - if you bought one house you got another for one cent!

Can you believe that?

Well, he eventually ended up in Boca Raton, Florida and bought a lot of land where he built Africa U.S.A.  I guess you could say the Pedersen’s just needed to pull back the curtains to see their dreams.



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