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Wichita Falls Municipal Zoo
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member QuarrellaDeVil
N 33° 55.051 W 098° 30.583
14S E 545320 N 3753119
Quick Description: Texas Historical Marker in Scotland Park, 1500 N 1st St, Wichita Falls, TX, noting this as the former site of the Wichita Falls Municipal Zoo, and providing some history of its rise and fall.
Location: Texas, United States
Date Posted: 10/31/2017 5:59:44 PM
Waymark Code: WMWYQG
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member QuesterMark
Views: 2

Marker Number: 18636

Marker Text:
Thanks to combined efforts of the Wichita Falls Lions Club and the City of Wichita Falls, the Wichita Falls Municipal Zoo opened to the public in 1928. Largely sustained by the community, it received both regular visitors and those from out of town. Wichita Falls' residents and businesses donated money, supplies and labor to keep the zoo running and expanding. At its height, it supported more than 300 animals. This number included baboons, elk, bison, monkeys, coyotes, zebras, lions, alligators, raccoons, snakes and tigers, as well as a petting zoo for children. Miss Sugar the elephant was its star attraction. The newspapers referred to her as "the largest and most popular flapper in Wichita Falls." Throughout its operation, safety concerns and a few minor incidents kept the city council worried about liability. A reflection of the time, the zoo was segregated, allowing African Americans to attend on Fridays (unless they accompanied white children in a caretaker role). The stock market crash of 1929 hit it hard as wallets tightened and people had less money to spend on entertainment. Despite its continuous fundraising efforts, the zoo closed in 1934. The animals, many of whom were on loan or leased, were either returned to their original owners or auctioned off. The Fort Worth Zoo purchased Miss Sugar. At the time of its closure, feelings regarding the zoo were mixed. Fond memories of visits to the animals were countered by the expense, especially when people struggled to feed their families. Despite its mixed success, the zoo remains a part of Wichita Falls' history. Its rise and fall offers a glimpse of the dynamics of town life and culture in the 1930s. (2017) Marker is Property of the State of Texas

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