Fairly hidden among the fern fronds of the Pizza Al Fresco courtyard, you’ll find the only cemetery in Palm Beach proper. It’s technically a pet cemetery, but the spider monkey buried beneath one of the only two headstones was more than just a pet to Jazz Era bon vivant Addison Mizner, whose “Mediterranean Revival” architecture remains the signature style of Palm Beach resorts.
Johnnie Brown, “The Human Monkey,” was just one of Mizner’s exotic and unusual pets. The monkey accompanied Mizner to all of his Gilded Age high society events and was invited as a special guest, along with his monkey companion Deuteronomy, to attend the Scopes Trial, a trial in which a teacher was charged for teaching evolution. Mizner declined the invitation on behalf of the privileged primate.
The trial wasn’t the spider monkey’s only brush with politics. Johnnie Brown also ran for mayor, obviously backed and supported by Mizner.
It’s said that Johnnie Brown and his canine graveyard-mate, Laddie, playfully haunt the plaza and boutiques along Worth Ave, and business owners instruct their employees to leave ramekins (okay, monkey dishes!) of sliced bananas out at night for them.
Know Before You Go
The gravestone is on the southern side of the courtyard at Pizza Al Fresco. There is usually a table for four on either side of it.
You could actually probably design an entire vacation itinerary around Mizner's loony legacy, including a bronze statue of him erected in Boca Raton and Johnnie Brown's rib joint in Del Ray Beach.