Known as the “King of the Auctioneers”, Samuel Winternitz was a successful and well-respected Chicago businessman. However, as his family grew, he decided to move his family to Western Springs. So, in 1906 he purchased a beautiful home at 1206 Walnut Street, which still stands today, See photo.
Sam and his wife Mary had six children, as well as a great love of wildlife. So, shortly after moving in, the family began acquiring animals. In fact, given the amount of vacant property behind the house, they eventually built a large fish pond, an animal shelter, a monkey cage, and a rookery. See photo.
While the “zoo” did not include what would be considered wild animals, it became a great attraction for the neighborhood children. Ducks, swans, fish, monkeys, deer, and a pony were all part of the collection. And, the children could even help feed the animals. See photo.
While the zoo is long gone, these images help remind us of a simpler time when children actually played outdoors and enjoyed nature’s wonders.
Each week, the Western Springs Historical Society presents a “Blast from the Past”. To view prior stories, visit us at www.westernspringshistory.org.