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Minot Zoo

5/21/2015:

In 1920, the Minot Parks Board was laboring to establish tourism and park services throughout Minot. The effort was paying off, as the Ward County Independent boasted that "Minot, although a city of less than 15,000 people, is well in the lead in the state on account of the size and beautify of the park system and the service which it renders."

The cherry on top was the Zoo at Minot's Riverside Park, the early incarnation of the Roosevelt Zoo. The zoo had been established in 1916, and great care was taken to work with the menagerie and to improve the quality of life for the animals within the zoo's confines.

All sorts of animals from all sorts of places came to the Minot Zoo. In the very early days, two deer had been donated from the agricultural college at Fargo. Some possum were brought by a man who had visited the south. In the 1920s, Mr. Will Doolittle, superintendent of the Minot Parks in those early years, received some parrots, a male monkey, and a selection of other animals from the Washington Park Zoo in Milwaukee. A pelican with an injured wing was also presented to the Zoo by Herman Borneke, who found it while out driving his truck north of Donnybrook. Bears and squirrels and pheasants and elk all were common stock at the zoo.

At one time, there was even a multitude of bison. By the 1940s, however, the number had dwindled to two. Then, in 1947, these final two bison had a baby. This was the first baby calf born in the zoo within the last six years, and it was on this date that the excited zoo staff announced the birth to the public. They had delayed the announcement, for the safety of the calf, having experienced an earlier episode of a mother bison abandoned a calf after it was touched by humans. By this date, however, it seemed all was well, and so the public was invited to welcome the new addition.

Dakota Datebook written by Sarah Walker

Sources:

The Minot Daily News, May 21, 1947, p10

The Ward County Independent, October 12, 1916, p4

The Ward County Independent, March 17, 1921, p2

The Ward County Independent, September 21, 1922, p7