Selig Zoo

It may come as a surprise to some but the first zoo and one of the first movie studios in Los Angeles were located in Lincoln Heights, near Lincoln Park (previously known as Eastlake Park).
The entrance of the zoo was quite grand, giant stone arches decorated with animal motifs and full size sculptures of elephants, lions and other zoo creatures.

Unfortunately when the zoo closed down in 1930’s, the giant stone animals that flanked the entrance went missing and forgotten.
This excellent video by Dig Where You Stand documents the rediscovery of this small bit of Los Angeles history. It even includes an interview with everyone’s favorite Los Angeles historian, Mike Davis. He talks a bit about the animal statues in his book, City of Quartz.
For more information and photos, check out this wonderful site dedicated to the history of Lincoln Heights:

5 thoughts on “Selig Zoo

  1. If I remember correctly, Huell Howser had a special (at least part of a show) dedicated to the Selig Zoo. I think the show focused on former film studios throughout Los Angeles. It was an interesting watch. Hopefully it’s shown again soon.

  2. The Selig Zoo was featured on a recent episode of PBS’ “History Detectives” show. The concrete animal sculptures by the old Selig gate were discovered in a Van Nuys warehouse and are being renovated for future permanent display at the Los Angeles Zoo.

  3. Thanks for the comments and tips. I hadn’t seen the Huell Howser special on the Selig Zoo, I’ll keep an eye out for that one. BTW, I’ve been looking for the show he did on the Plaza de Mexico statuary near Lincoln Park. Anyone seen it?

    Militant, thanks for mentioning the History Detectives show. I really enjoyed that episode.

  4. My father (born in 1909) lived in Lincoln Heights and worked at the Selig Zoo as a young adult.

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