Highland Park Zoo, Pittsburgh, USA


Zoo in Highland Park, Pittsburg, Pa.
1900s
Publisher: Souvenir Post Card Co. NY

Google Maps.

In 1895 the Pittsburgh philanthropist, Christopher Lyman Magee, donated $125,000 for the construction of a zoological garden in Highland Park. The first zoo was comprised of one large building at the top of a long, rolling hill covered with formal flowerbeds. This impressive Victorian-style building was 700 feet in length. Now, landscaped, winding walkways, and naturalistic exhibits have replaced the barred cages of that first zoo.
Historic Pittsburgh

The Highland Park Zoo was the centerpiece attraction in the entire 370 acre Highland Park complex, which also includes the reservoir and scenic park land. The park complex began in the late 1880s and the zoo was established in 1898. The zoo complex was completely overhauled and modernized in 1939.
Brookline Connection (more pictures)

Highland Park Zoo Inventory, 1900, from Pittsburgh City Archives on Twitter

One of the most fascinating zoological buildings, in my opinion ever built was the one that used to be at the Pittsburgh Zoo. Sadly, and incredibly it was demolished in the early 80’s. The only “proof” of it’s existence is the two griffin light poles, sans the lights, above which now stand in front of the Education Building at the zoo.
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In May of 1895, Joseph Lyman Silsbee was chosen as architect for a new building and bridge design for the Zoological Gardens for the City of Pittsburgh to be located in the city’s Schenley Park. . . Silsbee’s zoo structure was a commanding structure situated in a prominent hilltop location in the park. A series of terraces and broad stairways create a formal approach to the main building. Silsbee was responsible for the design of the stairs and likely oversaw the design of the lighting and landscape features as well. The main building was a sprawling symmetrical brick Romanesque structure with a hipped roof and flanked by two octagonal pavilions attached to the main building with curved colonnades. . . . Detailed photos of the structure at the University of Pittsburgh indicate that the clearstory windows were composed of several panes of glass arranged in a cruciform shape. Crisp arches create openings in the building facade at two end bays. A copper cornice and gutter with copper-formed anthemion accents surrounds the main structure. The interior, lit with a skylights, was sparse except for display cases and other cages for animals. The side pavilions had open cages on all sides and were topped with a clay tile roof.
The Circus “No Spin Zone”

“The Zoo in Highland Park, Pittsburgh, Pa.”, 1900, from Wikimedia Commons

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