Sunday, October 6, 2013

Hay llamas! 1950s illustrated map of Catskill Game Farm

Pictured above are the front and back covers of the "Illustrated Map of Catskill Game Farm." Scrawled in pen on the front is "July 1959," which seems about right for the age of this foldout guide.

The zoo was in operation for 73 years, from 1933 to 2006. It was owned and run by members of the Lindemann family (including founders Roland and Kathryn) during that entire time. It was officially recognized as a zoo in 1958, which allowed for it to expand its collection of animals. The entire site spanned more than 900 acres, but the Game Farm itself consisted of about 136 acres that were open to the public from spring through autumn.

I'm sure there are many of you who have fond memories of visiting this New York zoo. I would love for you to share your memories in the comments section below.

Here's an excerpt from the guide:

"Welcome to Catskill Game Farm, greetings our staff and from the thousands of animals and birds in our great wildlife collection. In this folder we show just a few of our many fascinating species and an illustrated map to guide you on your tour through the area. Often we have large herds of kangaroos and llamas; a variety of ostriches, antelopes, wild sheep and water buffalos, rare cranes, colorful parrots, giant tortoises, playful monkeys; many strange forms with stranger names, like the mara1 and the tahr, the aoudad, wombat and cassowary2; and other interesting and spectacular species of the bird and animal kingdom."

After Catskill Game Farm closed in 2006, a two-day auction that attracted more than 1,000 bidders was held. According to Wikipedia, these were some of the sale prices:

  • A 1951 Herschell merry-go-round with aluminum horses sold for $39,500
  • More than $12,000 worth of picnic tables and benches were sold
  • Ten alligators sold for $1,350
  • A white elk sold for $1,950
  • A pair of bison sold for $1,925
  • A pair of African porcupines sold for $1,220
  • Five reindeer fetched $4,725
  • Ostriches sold for $900 to $1,200 apiece

Today, there is hope that the Game Farm might have a rebirth in its future. According to a June 2013 article by Claude Haton in Hudson-Catskill Newspapers, "the new owners are looking at a broad plan including establishing an RV park, a petting zoo, and a museum honoring its history."

You can also check out this seven-minute video that examines what has become of Catskill Game Farm since its closure in 2006:

Here are some additional images from the 1950s guide.

(This seems like an extremely bad idea.)

And while we're posting pictures of llamas, here's a photo I took this past summer of a llama named Black Tie Affair leading a herd of alpacas to dinner at Alapacas of York, a farm that generously participates in York County 4-H.

1. I told Joan that I thought a mara (pictured at right) would be a good "starter cavy" before we work our way up to the capybara. She disagrees. "Its legs are too skinny," she said.
2. The cassowary will MESS YOU UP.

No comments:

Post a Comment