New York City New Deal...

Staten Island Zoo

The Staten Island Zoo, also known as the Barrett Park Zoo, was built by the NYC Parks Department 1934-36 with some combination and FERA, CCC, CWA, WPA, and PWA labor and/or funds[1,2,3,4]. The designer was the Parks Department's chief architect, Aymar Embury II, as shown in Public Design Commission of the City of New York documents shown below. The Zoo's murals were created by WPA Federal Art Project artist Olive Earl (1888-1982)[5,6,7]; some of them are shown below.
  1. Barret Park, New York City Parks Department website, accessed 5 November 2019: "When construction began in 1933-34, the zoo's plans were state of the art. Parks used New Deal-era Civilian Conservation Corps labor to help build the $150,000 facility" (CCC involvement seems unlikely, needs to be verified).
  2. NYC Parks Department press release, March 3, 1934: "This zoo will cost $150,000 and will give employment to 150 men. Both the cost of construction and the payroll will be met by C.W.A. funds. Work will begin immediately and the Zoo will be finished and ready for occupancy by early summer."
  3. NYC Parks Department press release, March 6, 1935: Announces the opening of the Barrett Park Zoo: "The park and zoo were constructed by the Department of Parks with relief labor. The final design of the building followed closely the first sketches made by Henry G. Jefferson, who is a resident of Richmond, and who has, for the last year, been inspector on Park Department construction in Staten Island." The "relief labor" was probably WPA, since the CWA mentioned in [2] ceased to exist in July 1934. Although Henry G. Jefferson is credited with the Zoo's design, the documents below[7] show that Aymar Embury II was the architect.
  4. Jesse C. Donahue and Erik K. Trump, American Zoos During the Depression, McFarland & Company (2010), p.28,82: mentions FERA, CWA, and PWA as agencies involved in the project.
  5. Joan Scheier, New York City Zoos and Aquarium, Arcadia Publishing (2006), p.70: "Olive Earl, a WPA artist painted [murals] depicting natural habitats..."
  6. Two Robins with a Nest, Staten Island Museum: "Olive Earle was born and raised in England and came to the United States in 1912, due to the War. She moved to Staten Island in 1934 with her husband, Harry Daughtery to work on a WPA project, now the Staten Island Zoo."
  7. Public Design Commission of the City of New York Archive, Flickr, accessed 5 November 2019.
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Murals by Mrs. Olive Earl

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Created by Photogallery 3.07 September 14, 2020