Funding to Acquire Land for a National Zoo

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Following debate in its 1888 and 1889 sessions, the United States Congress passes a bill for the acquisition of land for a National Zoological Park in the District of Columbia. A commission is appointed to establish the location of the park, composed of the Secretary of the Interior, president of the Board of Commissioners of D.C., and the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. The commission is authorized to choose a tract of land not less than 100 acres along Rock Creek deemed suitable and appropriate for a zoological park, appraise its value, and return this value to the Congress who will pay the owners thus establishing a valid title to the land.


  • Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia
  • Board of Regents
  • National Zoological Park (U.S.)
  • United States Dept. of the Interior
  • United States Congress


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • Mergen, Alexa. From Bison to Biopark: 100 Years of the National Zoo. Washington, D.C.: Friends of the National Zoo, 1989.
  • Goode, George Brown, ed. The Smithsonian Institution, 1846-1896, The History of Its First Half Century. Washington, D.C.: De Vinne Press, 1897, p. 450, 841.
  • Oehser, Paul H. The Smithsonian Institution. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1970, p. 106.
  • Rhees, William Jones. The Smithsonian Institution: Documents Relative to Its Origin and History: 1835-1899, Vol. 1, 1835-1887. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1901, p. 1149-1219, 1333-1416.
  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1888. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1890, p. 42-44.

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,


March 2, 1889


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  • Rock Creek Park (Washington, D.C.)
  • Washington (D.C.)

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