Monday, August 26, 2013

It's a Zoo Out There! - My World Tuesday

   Robert "Fish" Jones must have been quite a character.  The "Fish" nickname comes from his business in downtown Minneapolis, a fish shop.  To draw customers, Mr. Jones chained a bear to the front of his shop.  Not content with just a bear, he went on to collect tigers, jaguar, camel, birds, and a herd of sacred cattle and housed them on the third floor of his fish market.  He also had a pair of Russian wolfhounds which he would walk on the busy city streets.

   Soon "hideous noises" and "an unpleasant aura" eminating from his beasts began to draw unfavorable notice.  Obviously, this could not go on and in 1906 he was forced to move his menagerie well outside of town, where he built a home for himself, a replica of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's home, and a home for his animals, Longfellow Zoological Gardens.

Mr. Jones was a short man and always wore the tallest top hat available to add to his stature.  That is his hat in a case at the Hennepin County Museum.

  











In keeping with the Longfellow theme, Mr. Jones named the mascot of the zoo, his pet male lion, Hiawatha. When Hiawatha died, Mr. Jones had him made into a rug.

When Mr. Jones died in 1930, some of his animals went to another zoo.  His son, apparently a chip off the old block, loaded up the rest on a barge and took his floating zoo down the Mississippi to continue his father's tradition.






Old postcard, Mr. Jones on the left with his seals.
 
Thanks for reading my blog.  I enjoy reading your comments!
 

21 comments:

  1. Interesting post!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

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  2. This really is so very interesting! What a colorful person he was.

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  3. That is a great story!!!! So interesting.

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  4. He sounds a little eccentric, but it's certainly an interesting story.

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  5. What an interesting post. I like the photos too. Mr. Jones seemed to be quite the character. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. What a character Mr. Jones was! Fun and interesting post.

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  7. "My, my Grandma, what big teeth you have!" - although I know its a lion not a wolf, its the first thought that popped into my head!

    Nice post.

    Cheers - Stewart M.

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  8. Oh, interesting post and good fotos!

    Best wishes, Melody

    Yes, my post is a sheephandkiss :)

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  9. What a world! Thanks for this post.

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  10. I' glad that doesn't happen now. I feel for the animals

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  11. very interesting. Alsways fun to learn something new!

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  12. I'm not surprised he had to move his menagerie out of town! He must have been a a fascinating fellow.

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  13. Wonderful interesting story narrated beautifully! thanks for sharing..if you want to do an experience of Houseboat in Kerala, India. then please visit..

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  14. Oh my goodness! At first I thought you meant he had carved animals outside his shop, but then I realized what they really were. Wow, what an interesting story about a local character. Gosh.

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  15. You can still visit the Longfellow House during the summer months just a block from its original location! There are also hundreds upon hundreds of articles about Fish in old newspapers, from his run-ins with the law (the humane society charged him with animal cruelty several times), to his adventures in the United States and abroad, to his purchase of Dan Patch and the running of a horse track. The man had an entrepreneurial spirit, you can't deny that!

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