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December 28, 1909


Many Animals Needed to Make
Place More Interesting.

"The zoo buildings in Swope park are open to visitors," said Gus Pearson, city comptroller, yesterday, "but we have not much in the way of exhibits to show them. The big place looks dreary with its array of empty cages, and if the people who volunteered to contribute animals and birds will begin sending them in they will be appreciated.

"The lions and buffalo are the largest exhibits we have, and there is room for the elks promised, and the moose that we were to get from C. W. Armour and the camel from the Shriners. Birds and smaller animal pets are also needed."

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December 23, 1909


Frank Lemen, Only Missourian to
Possess Big Quadruped.

Frank Lemen, the showman, enjoys the distinction of being the only personal owner of a buffalo in this section of Missouri. He has a 4-year-old cow buffalo on his farm near the Little Blue, and he made a proposition to sell it to the city for the Swope park zoo prior to the presentation of two of this rare variety of animals to the park board.

The buffalo now in the possession of Mr. Lemen is one of two he had with the Lemen Bros.' show. A year ago one of the buffalo became savage and unmanageable, and to keep it from harming itself it had to be killed.

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December 21, 1909


Gus Pearson's Four Lions Transferred
to Swope Park Yesterday.

The four lions that are to form the nucleus for Kansas City's zoo at Swope park were yesterday transferred to the building from the barn they have been kept in at Dodson. Two buffalo, male and female, presented to the park board by A. Weber, arrived from Kansas last night. They will be exhibited for a few days at the store by Mr. Weber on Walnut street, after which they will be sent to the zoo buildings. C. W. Armour has presented several deer and the Elks several elks, but before they can be shipped from the West to Kansas City a permit will have to be secured from the state game warden.

"After we get all the animals and birds together we will have a pretty fair collection," said Gus Pearson, city comptroller and father of the zoo, last night. "Beside the lions and the buffalo, we have three monkeys, a badger, a wildcat and several smaller birds and animals."

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December 7, 1909


Board Appoints August Atkinson
Chief and Fred Morrison Assistant.

The park board appointed August Atkinson head keeper of the zoo building in Swope park at a salary of $75 a month, and made Fred Morrison an assistant at $60 a month.

A test is now being made of the steam heating plant for the purpose of regulating temperatures adapted to the different animals that will eventually make their homes in the place. Tomorrow the board will make a personal inspection of the buildings, and just as soon as the members are satisfied that they are habitable for animals the four lions and smaller exhibits already owned by the city will be installed therein.

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November 30, 1909


Opening of Buildings Postponed Un-
til Smoke Stack Is Lengthened.

When the wind blows from the east it is impossible to heat the boilers installed in the zoo buildings at Swope park on account of the smoke stack not being high enough.

At yesterday's meeting of the board it was decided to lengthen the stack with a metal top, and next spring carry the stone work up to the required height. Until this work is done there will be no formal opening of the building, as it is not deemed best to install the animals before sufficient heating facilities are assured.

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November 9, 1909


This Difficult Question Comes Up
Again Before Park Board.

The question of the management of the zoo in Swope park again was up for discussion before the park board yesterday. Gus Pearson, city comptroller, wants it managed by a board of control composed of the three members of the park board, and two members of the Kansas City Zoological Society. He presented a resolution to that effect.

D. J. Hall put in one inviting the Zoological Society to co-operate with the board in a way of advice and suggestion, but to have no voice in the management of the building or the purchase of the animals.

"The society might as well go out of existence. We can't even exercise our boyhood rights to water the elephant," said Mr. Pearson.

"Cheer up, Pearson, it might be worse," consoled Mr. Haff. "We are letting the society co-operate with us, and recommend what kind of animals to buy."

"The order is not to spend a whole lot of money buying animals," said Mr. Pearson, "but to improve civic pride among the citizens and have them donate specimens. If you wait until the city gets money enough to buy animals you'll be a long while without a zoo."

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November 8, 1909


Park Board Today Will Fix Date
and Discuss Management.

The park board will determine today a date for the formal opening of the Zoo buildings in Swope park, and decide whether it will consent to two members of the Zoological Society serving on a board of management.

It is a debatable question as to whether the board under the charter has the power to deputize control over park property to any other than itself.

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October 26, 1909


If Satisfactory, Animals Will Be
Moved Into Zoological Building.

Gus Pearson, city comptroller, yesterday induced the park board to purchase a carload of coal with which to test the heating plant in the new zoological building out in Swope park.

If it works all right the monkeys now owned by the city, and being housed with custodians of the park, and other animals, will move in.

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October 21, 1909


Zoo Management Must Be Composed
of Competent Men.

An official of the park board said yesterday that the board does not propose to be in a hurry to formally open the zoo buildings at Swope park.

"The management and operation of the zoo is no boys' play," said the official. "The employes and superintendent must be composed of trustworthy men who are familiar with such things. It cannot be manned by political hangers-on, and this might as well be understood from the very start. Already the board is flooded with applications from men for positions who know more about running a ward political primary than they do about operating a zoo. They might as well look for other jobs, for it is the intention of the board to find men who are fully familiar with the habits of animals and know how to manage them. Such men are now being sought.

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October 12, 1909



Feed for the Voracious Animals Has
Cost $1.57 Per Day, and They
Were Threatened With

"Who is that happy looking man?"

"That happy looking man is Gus Pearson, city comptroller."

"What makes him look so happy?"

"The park board has compromised with the contractor that put up the zoo building in Swope park, and Mr. Pearson will now find a place for the four lions he has been feeding for nearly four months at a cost of $1.57 per diem from his private purse."

When Mr. Pearson came from the rooms of the park board in the city hall last evening suffused in smiles, and as light hearted as a boy in his first pair of high topped boots, the foregoing conversation was overheard. It will be recalled that the comptroller some years ago was constituted father of a zoo to be established in Swope park, and he set out enthusiastically and vigorously upon his task. He prevailed upon the park board to let a contract to build a zoo building at a cost of about $35,000, and while the builders were rearing the structure, he looked about for animals and curiosities.


He wanted to prepare a surprise for everybody, so four months ago he invested $1,000 in four lions without letting everybody know his business. He expected that the building would be ready then for the reception of the beasts, and he did not figure that there was likely to be a dispute between the contractor and architect over a small matter of $3,900 for alleged extras in excess of the contract.

But the contractor and architect did lock horns over the extras, and the result was that the park board refused to accept the building pending the dispute even inf Mr. Pearson did have four lions with voracious appetites on his hands. He had to make the best of his plight. The four lions were stored in a barn at Dodson, and Mr. Pearson provided for their daily fare of meat at $1.57 per day. When the bills began to climb up into the hundreds of dollars, and there was no indication that the contractor and architect were going to agree, Mr. Pearson appealed to the park board.


He got no sympathy from this source, and when a cold snap came along that threatened the lions with pneumonia unless fires were started to keep them warm the patient comptroller became desperate. Negotiations were set under way to temporarily turn the lions over to the Hippodrome management, but before the plan was carried out the contractor and architect came to terms. The contractor, Carl Nilson, is to accept $2,000 as a compromise and the deal will be closed today.

"Are you glad?" Mr. Pearson was asked last night.

"Glad? That doesn't half express my feelings," he replied.

"When will the lions be moved over to the zoo?"

"Mighty quick," he answered.

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October 7, 1909


Zoo Controversy May Be Dealt With
by Park Board.

Six red foxes, one coyote, one wild cat, two eagles, two monkeys, one parrot, four lions.

This is the collection of animals the city has already on hand for its prospective zoo at Swope park, but as to the particular time when they will find an abiding place in the buildings prepared for their comfort is simply a matter for speculation.

The buildings are completed, but the architect and the contractor are at odds over the payment of $7,000 in extras in excess of the contract. The controversy has reached the waiting stage. The contractor says the $7,000 in extras were honestly put in the building.

"They were not," replies the architect, and so there you are.

"Looks as if the park board will have to take possession of the buildings by force," said a park official yesterday, "and then let the contractor appeal to the courts for redress, if he has any."

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September 2, 1909


Absence of Park Board Members
May Cause Open Outbreak.

Unless another member of the park board gets back to town soon there will be trouble among the monkeys and the wild cats and other animal owned by the Kansas City Zoological Society.

A great menagerie building has been put up in Swope park by the park board for the use of the Zoo society, and it is ready for its new tenants, but there is no park board to receive the property from the contractors and turn it over to the silly-faced owls and other things for which it was built.

During the year or more the Zoological society has been in existence it has been the recipient of a great number of small wild beasts and birds. These, pending the construction of a house, have been billeted out in various bars and houses. The keepers are anxious to be rid of them, and the Zoological society is anxious to have them collected.

John W. Warner is the only park board man in the city. Commissioners D. J. Haff and A. J. Dean are out of town, with nobody knowing when they will get back.

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August 24, 1909


Acceptance of Zoo Buildings Prob-
ably Will Take Place Today.

There was no quorum of the park board present in the city yesterday afternoon. As a consequence, according to John W. Wagner, the sole member in the city yesterday, the meeting was postponed to today, when D. J. Haff, a member of the board, is expected to return. The board is expected to receive from the contractors the bird and animal house of the new zoo in Swope park. If this is done, the Kansas City Zoological Society immediately will begin to place animals in the building.

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July 16, 1909


Building Probably Will Be Turned
Over to City August 1.

The zoo buildings at Swope park are receiving the finishing touches, and it was said yesterday at the offices of the park board that in all probability they will be turned over by the contractors August 1.

"A large force of men is now busy grading the approaches to the buildings," said W. H. Dunn, general superintendent, "and this work should be completed by the time the contractors are ready to turn over the buildings. We are daily in receipt of offers of animals for the exhibits, but as yet have been unable to accept them on account of there being no provision for their care."

An important matter in connection with the zoo is the appointment of a head keeper and assistants. These positions, to a great extent, will have to be filled by men who are experienced in the care and treatment of the animals that will comprise the collection. So far as known the park board has not considered any applications for these positions.

Gus Pearson, city comptroller, and one of the moving figures in the zoological society says that just as soon as the buildings are made ready for the reception of them, he has promises of elk from the Elks' lodge, a big eagle from the Eagles' lodge, a camel from the Shriners and lions and other animals of the jungle from private contributors.

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May 25, 1909


Work Being Rushed on Zoo Build-
ings at Swope Park.

Work is being pushed with vigor on the completion of the zoo buildings at Swope park. It is thought they will be far enough advanced within the next sixty days to admit of the reception of several fine specimens of animals, of which donations have been promised. C. W. Armour will contribute five buffaloes, the Elks' lodge three elks, the Shriners two camels and Emery, Bird, Thayer Dry Goods Company a lion and a lioness.

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April 22, 1909


Officials Will Attend Circus Per-
formance at Convention Hall.

Tonight will be "city hall night" at the circus. All the officials will attend the performance at Convention hall and will boost for the Kansas City zoo.

Everybody would like to see the Swope Park zoo stocked with animals and birds this summer, and to raise the money for that object the Zoological Society of Kansas City induced the Campbell Bros. to bring their circus and animals to Convention hall for one week, ending with a performance next Saturday night.

All the proceeds, after paying expenses, will be applied to the purchase of animals by the park board and the Zoo Society. Campbell Bros. do not handle a dollar of the money. The city and county exacted no license always required for a circus, which amounts to $800.

The performance is most excellent, and if patronized as it should be, the money to buy lions, tigers, leopards, monkeys and birds will be raised and honestly expended for that purpose.

Every person who goes to the Campbell Bros.' show this week assists in securing the new public menagerie which will be installed at Swope park. Performances are given every afternoon and evening. Remember the good cause and make it a point to take in the circus.

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April 17, 1909


Campbell's Elephants Raid an
Italian Fruit Stand.

The Campbell Bros.' big show, on a special train consisting of forty cars, arrived in the city yesterday over the Rock Island from winter quarters in Fairbury, Neb. There will be a parade this at 11:00 and the show opens in Convention hall in the evening, where performances will be given every afternoon and evening until April 25. The greater part of the receipts go to the Kansas City Zoological Society, which intends to establish a menagerie out at Swope park.

The Campbell show has a complete menagerie, has over 200 head of horses and employs over 500 men. After unloading, the animal cages and the horses were located in a vacant lot south of the big hall. The bulls, two herds of elephants and the camels were placed inside the hall.

"The baby camel, which was born three weeks ago and is the only one born in captivity, is doing fine. So is the mother, and the father is also pretty proud of his son."

The big parade will be nearly one mile long. All of the animal cages will be in line along with the trained animals. Performers will ride their trained horses and clowns will cavort for the benefit of the children. Three brass bands and a drum corps will furnish the music.

The elephants, while on the way to the hall, nearly stampeded when they came to a street fruit stand run by an Italian at Twelfth and Wyandotte streets. Alice, who was in the lead, spied the fruit, and, being ravenously hungry, protruded her snout and plucked a large luscious banana from a big bunch hanging on the outside of the stand. The others fell right in line and made a run for the fruit stand. The Italian threw up both hands and deserted his post.

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April 11, 1909


Feature of the Show That Is Coming
to Big Hall.

Highly enthusiastic over the new-born camel are those connected with the Campbell Bros.' circus, which will be given for eight days in Convention hall, beginning April 17, and that same baby camel, now one week old, will be the source of amusement in the menagerie when the aggregation reaches Kansas City. At first it was feared that the camel would not be able to walk because of some malformation of the legs. The circus veterinary was put on the job and the long, slender legs were made strong and straight, until now the little beast is just as spry and awkward as any camel could ever be.

The show is to be given for the benefit of Kansas City's zoo in Swope park and part of the proceeds will go towards the purchasing of animals for that purpose.

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April 1, 1909


Society to Spend $10,000 to $15,000
for Animals.

By May 1 the zoological building being built in Swope park will be ready for the receiving of animals and visitors and the zoological society which has been attending to the details will have finished the greater part of its labor. The society held a meeting at the Coates house last night, and made arrangements for the opening of the city zoo.

The society expects to expend between $10,000 and $15,000 within the next several weeks for animals. Besides what animals will be purchased, the zoo has already a large number in different parts of the country.

At the meeting last night private donations amounted to $770. H. R. Walmsley was re-elected secretary and Gus Pearson second vice president last night. The Campbell Bros. circus will open a week's engagement at the Convention hall on April 17, the proceeds going to the zoological society.

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October 14, 1908


Upper House Compromises on $15,-
000 -- Lower House to Act.

The upper house of the council last night compromised by consenting to vote $15,000 instead of $25,000 for the erection of an animal house in Swope park for the proposed zoo. The ordinance will have to be considered by the lower house.

Alderman G. E. Edwards said that there seemed to be a misunderstanding among some of the aldermen as to the import of the improvement.

"It is more than a bird cage; it is a building 135 x 88 feet and will be filled with animals of all descriptions," said the alderman. "The promoters of the zoo are from the ranks of the best citizens of Kansas City, and they already have had a number of animals offered them which they have been unable to accept on account of having no buildings in which to receive them."

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October 6, 1908





Earned Name of Being One of Most Ac-
tive and Conscientious in Council.

John Francis Eaton, member of the upper house of the city council and for years a prominent worker among the Democrats of the city, is dead. His death occurred suddenly last night while he was sitting in a chair on the front porch of his home, 3123 Woodland avenue. While Mr. Eaton had been in poor health for some time, his condition was not considered serious either by himself or his friends until yesterday afternoon, when he complained of a pain in his side and remarked that he could not stand the pain much longer. An hour later, about 7 o'clock in the evening, he died.

Just prior to this time Mr. Eaton was talking with his brother, Walter Y. Eaton, who lives nearby. They had been discussing various subjects, and although Mr. Eaton appeared somewhat pale, death was apparently the last subject on either of their minds.

Mr. Eaton's death occurred just before the opening of the council meeting last night, and just as the roll call was being read a message came to that body announcing the death of a fellow member.

It was unanimously agreed that both houses should assemble and then adjourn out of respect to the memory of Mr. Eaton. It was further decided that on the day of the funeral the city hall should be closed in the afternoon and it was ordered that the flag on the hall be hung at half mast for thirty days.


Alderman Eaton was 58 years old and had lived in Kansas City since 1831. He was born in St. Louis in 1852. When he was one year old his parents removed to Quincy, Ill., where he was educated in the common schools of the city. When 18 years old he started in the book and stationary business and a few years later he became a traveling salesman for a crockery concern in which work he continued until coming to Kansas City when he went into business for himself, taking for his partner L. E. Erwin.

Twelve years ago he retired from the crockery business and engaged in insurance work, which line he followed up to the time of his death.

He was a Democrat, a notable worker in the party and earned for himself the name of being one of the most active and conscientious aldermen in the city. He was greatly interested in securing a municipal appropriation for the new zoological garden at Swope Park. Although being a staunch Democrat, Alderman Eaton had the name of never allowing politics to influence any of his legislative acts. He was the chairman of the finance committee and was associated with the workhouse, public places and building committees.

Twenty-five years ago he was married to Miss Flora McMillan, who survives him. There are no children. Mr. Eaton was a past commander of the K. P. lodge and was a thirty-third degree Mason. In church circles he was well known, being a member of the Grace Episcopal church, where he held the offices of treasurer and vestryman in the church.

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September 30, 1908


Mayor Feels Council Should Have
Spent $25,000 For the Zoo.

It was a source of considerable disappointment to Mayor Thomas T. Crittenden, Jr., that the upper house turned down the ordinance to spend $25,000 of unappropriated funds for the building of a carnivoum for Swope Park zoo.

"Personally, I believe it was a mistake," said the mayor yesterday, "and the aldermen acted hastily. There is every likelihood that upon second thought they will undergo a change of heart, and willingly make this appropriation . I do not agree with the statements made, that the providing of a zoo is for the benefit of the rich, a luxury of the wealthy. Swope park is the home of the masses, and the poor and middle classes are the ones that will get the real enjoyment out of the beautiful grounds. I have repeatedly stated that it will be but a short time when the revenues will permit of raising the wages of the street sweepers."

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September 29, 1908


Upper House Wants Street Sweepers'
Pay Raised First.

The upper house of the council last night defeated an ordinance appropriating $25,000 from funds unappropriated for the building of a bird house for a zoo at Swope park. Aldermen W. C. Culbertson and Isaac Taylor led the opposition tot he measure, their particular complaint being that it is wrong for the city to spend money providing pleasure for the rich and not provide funds to raise the pay of street sweepers from $1.75 to $2 a day.

"This ordinance reminds me of the man who cannot pay his grocery and doctor bills, but can afford to buy and wear diamonds," said Alderman Culbertson.

"Also," interrupted Taylor, who is a tailor, "like the man who lets his tailor's bill go unpaid and buys diamonds -- and that's where I am the sufferer. I love the birds and monkeys, but I love my fellow man who pushes the broom the best."

"Culbertson made a flowery speech here two weeks ago about his love for the street sweeper, and he promised to introduce an ordinance advancing the laborer's pay, but I have failed to see anything of it. Words count something but acts count more."

"I'll introduce the ordinance before this house adjourns tonight," retaliated Culbertson.

"Do it. I'll vote for it," promised Eaton.

The park board has accepted the lowest bid for the construction of the first building for the zoo in Swope park. The bid is about $23,000 and the board is to furnish the stone for foundations.

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September 2, 1908


George O. Shields Has Agreed to
Come Here September 15.

Great interest is being shown by Kansas City people in the Kansas City zoo which is to be located at Swope park. At a meeting of the Kansas City Zoological Society at the Coates house last night final arrangements were made to have G. O. Shields, president of the League of American Sportsmen, speak in Convention hall on September 15. He will speak in the afternoon and evening, and the Kansas City society expects large crowds to be present at both meetings. Mr. Shields is probably the best known sportsman and hunter in this country. He has been invited to speak in Kansas City in the interest of the new zoo.

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August 28, 1908


Keith & Perry Building Tenants Are
Seeing Things in Every
Corner Now

Look out for snakes. Dr. Otto Bohl took a bottle of young ones up to the office of Harry R. Walmsley, vice president of the Zoological Society, and the things all got away. Bohl, being humane and not afraid of anything, considerately left the cork of the bottle loose, although he had cut a nick in it for ventilation. When the late Democratic nominee for coroner got to former Representative Walmsley's office there was nobody there but the young woman stenographer. When he had said that he was leaving a bottle of snakes for Mr. Walmsley there was nobody in the office at all. The young woman telephoned from a nearby drug store from time to time, finally getting word to Mr. Walmsley.

"There is a bottle full of snakes on your desk, Mr. Walmsley," she said. "I am afraid to come --"

"-- home in the dark," Mr. Walmsley supplied as he left the telephone to go to his desk. He returned to tell the girl that she might return to her place. "There are no snakes here. I guess it was a mistake."

"Are there really no snakes in the bottle?" the girl inquired.

"The bottle is there and a cork beside it, but it is empty."

A scream closed the conversation. Though a block away, the girl was frightened. Them Mr. Walmsley, naturalist, laughed with glee. A flock of snakes was running through the Keith and Perry building.

"They are little bits of fellows," said Mr. Walmsley yesterday. "Dr. Bohl caught a big garter snake and put it in a box. The next morning he found eight in the box, including the big one. He bottled up the eight young ones for the city zoo and brought them over to me. They got out of the bottle and dear knows where they are, for I do not. The janitors have looked everywhere but in the dark corners, and they say they do not like to look there. Garter snakes are very harmless and quite affectionate. I hope if they are found none of the office people will kill them."

It is easy to distinguish the Keith & Perry building stenographers. They are wearing automobile faces just now and most of them have pulled their desks out into the middle of the offices. Declaring that he was doing it "just for fun," one young man in the building with rah rahs on had rubber bands around the cuffs.

"I think it is horrid," said one young woman yesterday as she started back to the building from lunch. "Every time a rubber band drops on the floor or a piece of string is seen, we all jump. I scream. I just cannot help it. I am glad Dr. Bohl was defeated for the nomination. They ought to make him keep his nasty snakes at home. Our office is only two floors above that of Walmsley & Scott, and the elevator boy told me he saw two of the what you call 'em snakes going up the elevator shaft this morning. Two of the girls have left the building, afraid to stay in it till they capture the things again."

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