Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tragedy At The Newell Park Zoo In 1909

The Newell Park Zoo in Newell, Hancock County, operated from 1906 until 1912.  Post cards from the era show a seal pen, a monkey cage, a coon pit, and a bear cave.  There were also burros, deer, and geese.
May 23, 1909, was to be the biggest day in the short history of the Newell Park Zoo.  Purchasing two polar bears, one male and one female, the plan was to introduce them to each other in public.  Assuming it would be love at first site, and ignoring warnings from zoologists against it, the doors were opened that allowed them to be together.  To the horror of the thousands of people in attendance, the bears then fought until one was dead.  It was a bloody, horrible disaster!  A taxidermist hired quickly to preserve the remains of the dead bear discovered the female was actually a male.  They had put two males together. 
By 1914, the Newell Park Zoo went out of business. 

The bears den as it looks today.

This is the flower ring as it looks today.

The zoo as it looked in its prime!

Kim and Will inside the bear den.

The Monkey cage.

The site of the monkey cage today.
 Remnants of this park are still visible today, including the bear cave.  For the complete story about May 23, 1909, see our group web site!