Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Herbivora Building/Elephant House Cincinnati Zoo



The "Elephant House" was built in 1906 and designed by James W. McLaughlin. It is the world's largest complete-concrete animal building of it's kind. It is 100 ft long, 70 ft wide, and 70 ft tall.


Bob Cline said...

I give you lots of credit, Wade. You continue to provide some excellent histories. Keep up the great work!

Anonymous said...

I was fortunate to visit Cincinnati and Cecil Jackson Jnr along with his staff Val and Rick were good enough to show me around and even drive to the airport. I was able to walk around this historic building as it was still in use and when the elephants entered the public viewing hall, it just seemed to make them look larger and more magnificent. I'm sure some readers will disagree but the stark conditions inside force the eye to evaluate the entire animal. Maybe there was some method in their madness or just a desire to show off their architectural greatness.

Wade G. Burck said...

Thank you, and you to have done a wonderful job of documenting circus history.


Wade G. Burck said...

Excerpted from a news article:

Long before construction began, when the renovation was still a twinkle in director Ed Maruska's eye, he and associate director Jack Huelsman visited elephant compounds in zoos all over the country.

“I think I went to eight, and Ed went to a few others,” Mr. Huelsman said. “I took pictures and asked questions, then incorporated the best ideas and got rid of what didn't work. We did that to make sure this would be the best it possibly could be.”

In the original layout, visitors entered one end and walked down a long corridor with animals on each side. Vanishing Giants turns things sideways, with the elephant viewing area running the full width of the building on one side and the giraffe and okapi area side-by-side at the opposite end. Between them, there's a wide corridor and off-exhibit animal holding areas (bedrooms, stalls for medical exams, a secluded breeding nook).

Visitors now walk in and come face-to-face with the elephants. There are no bars; cables strung between columns keep the elephants on their own side of the exhibit.

The downside is visitors walk in one side, see the elephants, then leave the building, walk around the path and re-enter to see the giraffes and okapi.

But Mr. Maruska thinks that's a good thing because it gets people outdoors, and that's where the exhibit comes in to its own.

“True immersion exhibits are almost impossible with elephants,” said Dr. Michael Hutchins, director of conservation and science at the American Zoo and Aquarium Association. “They're too large and too dangerous.

“But to a certain extent, I'd say yes, it does give you the impression you're on the savannah ... but more important, I think it's an exhibit that meets the animals physical and psychological needs.”

Michael G Smith said...

According to The American Architect and Building News, May 4, 1907, this building was designed by Elzner & Anderson.