Two postcards from the Zoological Park in Detroit, Michigan. Given that these linen cards date from the 1940s, it appears that Detroit was quick to provide cage-free environments for the animals.
Mailed in 1947, this linen card shows a few of the critters that can be seen at the San Diego Zoo.
Sea-Horse at the New York Aquarium. The postcard probably dates from around 1910 and, unusual for cards of this era, there’s a description on the back:
Sea-Horse. Atlantic Coast. Sometimes found in New York Bay. The only fish with a grasping tail. Grows 7 inches long.
Two postcard views of the zoological gardens in Cincinnati, Ohio. Both cards were published by Powell Bros. of Cincinnati, and probably date from around 1910 or so.
Sam the Orangutan riding a tricycle at the St. Louis Zoo. According to the zoo’s website, Sam shook hands with visitors, smoked a pipe and, during the 1924 opening of the Primate House, sat next to St. Louis mayor Henry Kiel.
Mailed in 1945, this postcard features the bird house and animal pits in Pueblo, Colorado’s City Park. I remember when the Fort Worth zoo had “pits” similar to these, and even as a child I thought they were disgraceful.
Polar bears at the new Detroit Zoo, an impressive, modern facility that opened in 1928. The white border postcard was published by United News Co. and produced by Miller Art Co.
The Bear Pit at San Antonio, Texas’ Breckenridge Park. Bear pit….sounds like a place to toss undesirables! I’m a little confused by this card, as it makes no mention of the San Antonio Zoo, which, as I understand it, is adjacent to but not in Breckenridge Park. Perhaps someone familiar with San Antonio can shed some light on this. The white border postcard was published by Nic Tengg, San Antonio, Texas.
No, not those Chicago Bears. These bears are of the polar variety, and residents of Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo. Postmarked in 1946, the back of this white border card has this to say:
BEARS . . . BROOKFIELD ZOO
One of the Barless Zoos in the world, covering nearly two hundred acres of native woodland, with some of the finest specimens and wonders of the wild animal life housed in natural settings of modern design and beauty.
Located within Riverside Park in Independence, Kansas is the Ralph Mitchell Zoo, and one of the historic attractions there is Monkey Island, a rhesus monkey exhibit that was constructed in 1932. The historic significance of Monkey Island lies in it being the birthplace of Miss Able, the first non-communist monkey in space. Launched on May 28, 1959, Miss Able returned safely to earth but died soon after during surgery to remove implanted electrodes. Sometimes fame is fleeting.