The Online Museum Store of the Alabama Department of Archives & History
Oak Park and the Montgomery Zoo, Trevino and Pastorello
Established at the beginning of the 20th century with a total of 41 acres, Oak Park was the social and recreational center of Alabama's capital city, Montgomery. It was here in 1935 that a menagerie of animals was housed in facilities built by the Works Progress Administration called the Oak Park Zoo. As the civil rights movement gathered steam in the 1950s, there was a class action suit to desegregate the city's parks, including the zoo. In response, all parks were closed, including Oak Park. In 1967, plans were approved for a 34-acre recreational park in north Montgomery, which included acreage for a small zoo. Unfortunately, although the zoo was scheduled to open in 1971, thirteen years after the closing of Oak Park, the opening was delayed for almost a year when the zoo's first director died in a car accident just 37 days after accepting his post. The opening of the new Montgomery Zoo was finally celebrated in 1972 and included the happy homecoming of a female capuchin monkey, an original resident of Oak Park.