Most bodies may anticipate the Red River Zoo in Fargo is the area’s first, but Moorhead’s zoo got its alpha about 90 years ago and ran for about a five-year span.
Mark Peihl, chief archivist at the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County, actual its abbreviate but important accomplished in a contempo blog column blue-blooded “A Moorhead Zoo.”
Most of the zoo’s agrarian animals, including two atramentous bears, came from “well-meaning but bearded individuals” who at aboriginal approved to accumulate them as pets, Peihl said.
“It became absolutely a little assembly here,” he said.
The old buck cage is tucked beneath a barefaced abutting to the above Usher’s House restaurant, overlooking Memorial Esplanade alternating the Red River.
Volunteers congenital it in the summer of 1930 application recycled materials.
The adamant confined were extra from a advance at the bounded jail, and the artery came from the capital administering architecture at what is now Minnesota State University Moorhead, which was destroyed by blaze the antecedent winter, Peihl said.
The enclosure, fabricated of 16,500 artery in all, is about 24 anxiety continued and 11 anxiety high.
The zoo and its buck pit became a accepted attraction, cartoon added than 100 bodies a day.
Visitors could drive in from Eighth Street, either seeing creatures from the alley or endlessly for a afterpiece look.
First beastly was ‘rare’ deer
The acreage the zoo was congenital on came address of two of the city’s ancient residents.
In 1878, Andrew and Conie Holes congenital a advertise home area the above Usher’s House now stands.
Years afterwards her bedmate died, Conie awash the acreage to Moorhead for its aboriginal burghal park, area the zoo was eventually built.
The aboriginal beastly to admit the zoo in 1929 was a adolescent whitetail deer — advised alien at the time. In fact, any deer analysis again was advanced folio news.
The being who begin the abase capital to accumulate it as a pet, but a bold administrator instead offered it to burghal officials, who kept it in the dog batter until a cage could be built.
More animals anon followed, including raccoons, pheasants, a snapping turtle, a fox and an chill owl.
Somehow, the zoo additionally concluded up with a monkey, to the agitation of babysitter Emil Rehn.
The monkey bit Rehn on the hand, causing him to lose two fingers to infection, Peihl said.
The zoo’s aboriginal adolescent atramentous bear, housed in the bounded bastille initially and called Jacquiline, was followed by a additional called Bruno.
Most of the animals were kept in cages fabricated of craven wire, and it wasn’t abundant bigger for the bears in their brick pit.
“I’m abiding they were aloof basically pacing aback and alternating and aggravation anniversary other,” Peihl said.
Fortunately, zoos accept afflicted abundantly since, he said, caring for animals in abundant bigger ways.
Bear’s sad fate
As time went on, the zoo became a accountability to the city. The deer assorted and had to be farmed out to bounded farmsteads.
In 1935, the buck called Jacquiline anguish up in a boner shop.
The Moorhead Daily Account appear she “went to her blessed hunting ground.”
It seems an odd accident now, but bargain aliment was in charge at the time, Peihl said.
It’s not bright what happened to the blow of the animals.
In the abatement of 1935, the Holes’ home abutting to the zoo was broken bottomward to accomplish way for a stone-block amphitheater and American Legion club building.
After the Legion confused out in the mid-1990s, the architecture became home to three restaurants in assumption — the Red Bear, called afterwards the Red River and the zoo’s two bears, the Broken Axe and, best recently, Usher’s House.
As accepted as the zoo was, Peihl said it’s arresting there are absolutely no photos of the animals.
The alone one in the athenaeum at the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County is a bleared angel of a few deer.
Anyone who ability accept such photos can acquaintance HCSCC to advice annular out the zoo’s history.
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