Monday, March 28, 2011

ATLANTApix: Zoo Atlanta's Origins

Flamingo at Zoo Atlanta
Flamingo at Zoo Atlanta
On this day in 1889, George Valentine Gress and Thomas J. James attended an auction of a bankrupt traveling circus. Together, for $4,485, they became the new owners of circus wagons railroad cars and a collection of circus animals.

Gress took the animals...four lions, two wildcats, two deer, two monkeys, two snakes, and one each of a hyena, gazelle, raccoon, elk, Mexican hog, camel, and a dromedary (a single-hump member of the camel family). The original 12 species today numbers approximately 220.

Gress donated the animals to the city of Atlanta, which were moved to Grant Park where Zoo Atlanta remains to this day. Gress also assumed the responsibility for building the habitat cages and additionally donated thousands of dollars so that poor children could visit the Zoo.

He later purchased the Atlanta Cyclorama, also in Grant Park and a must-see Atlanta attraction, and donated it to Atlanta, as well.

ATLANTApix of the tourATLANTA blog features a "photo-of-the-day" of Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

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