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From the Archives: Selig Zoo entrance

Nov. 1955: Know Your City No.15. Lionesses on archway of entrance to the Selig Zoo Los Angeles, Cali
November 1955: Lionesses on archway of entrance to the Selig Zoo that closed in the 1920s.
(Los Angeles Times Archive / UCLA)

Despite its 1920s era closing, the crumbling entrance to the Selig Zoo still sat to be included in the Los Angeles Times 1955-56 Know Your City photography series.

The original caption in the Dec. 2, 1955, Los Angeles Times reported:

KNOW YOUR CITY, NO. 15 -- This may be a toughie. Because these are pretty lionesses. They've been here since 1910. And never bitten anyone. Rather remotely, the last letter of the alphabet is involved. Answer on Page 32, Part ll.

ANSWER: The photo is of one of the ornate arches that formed the entrances to the old Selig Zoo, adjacent to Lincoln Park. Here, many early-day movies were made. Then, it was a regular zoo. And, at present, an inactive amusement park. But, nevertheless, down through the years and despite fallen plaster, it remains one of the most impressive entrances in town.

Movie pioneer William Selig opened his zoo in 1915. The entrance featured 15 concrete lions and elephants. But by the mid-1920s, the zoo closed.

Several of the concrete lions are now on display at the Los Angeles Zoo.

For more, check out this 2009 story by Carla Hall: Zoo to display lion statues from early L.A. menagerie.

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May 13, 2009: Connie Morgan, head of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Assn., walks past a mother lion with cubs, one of four lion statues from the Selig Zoo, lost during the 1950s, which have been found and restored. Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times

See more from the Los Angeles Times archives here


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