Effie Elephant at Knowland Park Zoo – 1964 — 13 Comments

  1. This is really cool! It looks like the elephant exhibit is where Gibbon Island is now. Where was that seal exhibit located?

  2. This is 2019 my name is Robert Balthrope my 1-916-369-2456 I was born in 1954 my father and mother and I lived on Stanley Avenue across the street from knowland Park Zoo I remember sneaking over to the park in 1958 I was about 4 years old I remember my parents taking me to see Effie the elephant she lived in a barn not in a Menagerie that we see now also Rosebud the gorilla to me as a little boy , with a red butt I used to love to ride the train and ride the Merry-Go-Round next to the train a little Carnival area that they had their we’d eat cotton candy on the very giant large lawn we go to my grandmother’s house across the Bay Bridge I remember seeing Alcatraz lit up in 1956 and 57 I was a little boy my grandmother lived two blocks up from the Palace of Fine Arts we would go there to feed the pigeons she lived on Lyon Street across the street from the Presidio my father would take us to the Sutro Baths and they would let my father bring in his scuba equipment in and he would put me on his shoulders and we would swim in the salt water pool we would also go to the fleishhacker zoo to the fun house which at being three and four years old my father would shove me through the turn barrels a foam and on to the spinning floor used to scare the death out of me I have a lot of wonderful memories of all the things that I’ve seen and they have gotten rid of I’m going to take my grandson there and explain to him how it used to be my father was wounded in Korea and my brothers and sisters were all born in Oak Knoll Naval Hospital before they built the big hospital and 66 or 67 I remember the hospital in the 50s and early 60s was Quonset Huts I went to King Junior High School Lake View Elementary School Parker Elementary School remember driving down the road with my father one day in the Oakland Hills and you looked up on the Hills you said those are where the rich people live those homes are $60,000 a piece our home that we had was around 15,000 in 1967 we had a Doughboy swimming pool a man that was opening up a new Zoo called the baby zoo pop the pool from us to use for his animals does 24 feet across with a deep end of 8 feet him and his wife had started the baby zoo

    • Wow. I had friends that lived on Stanley as well. Grew up in 64 around there, went to Elmhurst, then a year @King’s Estates Jr. High, finished at McChesney Jr. High, moving back to Lake Merritt area where I was born @ Peralta Hospital, I graduated from Oakland High 75. Yes when I lived off 98th Ave & Warner. Our neighbor across the street was the Trainer for Effie and took care of the Elephants and that area. I remember it was more around the Top area I think then. In 65 my friend that lived on Stanley and a group of us had her 8th birthday party up at Knowland Zoo…
      I even took my kite one day up the hills to the Park they were having a Kite Flying Contest but alas I didn’t even qualify. Oh the memories of that area are full! My Aunt was a LVN @ SF General, she lived on Franklin St. At the Top a block away from St. Mary’s. We went for my birthday one year my one brother and I rode the bus over from Oakland and met our Aunt then took Trolly & Buses etc. out to Playland at the Beach and back home. It was the Best Birthday with my brother and Aunt. We did the Zoo once as well boy that was a long ride on buses etc…

      Yes they are all gone but at least the Zoo’s have continued to stay around. I miss those times! But life’s beautiful memories are just as much fun!

    • My parents were friends with both Mr & Mrs Snow. When Rosebud the chimp was still small, they kept diapers on her & she lived in the house with Mr & Mrs Snow. I was perhaps 4 or 5 back then.
      Do you remember – about 1959-60 – when some of the houses up in the Oakland hills started sliding down the hill?
      A favorite place for us to play was up on Cow Hill (think it was called that) and in 1958-59-60 the Mormon church bought the land and built the beautiful church there and we lost one of our favorite places to play! Progress…!
      Another memory – watching the first skyscraper being built across from Lake Merritt. With each floor that was added on, there was always a big flag with the new floor # on it.
      I think we all must have taken the bus as children, going over to Playland at the Beach and the SF Zoo. It was perfectly safe back then to take the bus over to SF and ride the electric buses, the trains and the cable cars. And back then, women weren’t allowed to hang onto the bars of the cable cars – women had to sit down on the benches!

  3. The seal exhibit which in the 70s featured another beloved friend “CORKY” who you could actually pet if you fed him a fish…. was to the left of the children’s petting zoo. Sorry animal rights folks, I miss those days and cherished memories, and being close to these animals made me respect and appreciate them that much more.

  4. I was born in Oakland many moons ago ( 1947 ). My parents were both Navy. Raised in San Leandro, I went to St. Leander’s catholic School. I loved going to the Knowland Park Zoo. My favorite animal there was Effie the Elephant. Watching her was amazing. Her surroundings were humble as I remember. The merry-go-round and train were great. Such great memories. I miss those kind.

  5. I believe mr Sid Snow had a lot to do with Effie and Rosebud the chimp. My grandfather, James Ceremony was friends with Sid and did things for the so and Lions Club

  6. I, too, grew up in wonderful Oakland. My dad was a friend of Mr. Snow’s – and the day they received Effie, Mr. Snow called my dad and told him to bring me up there to see the new baby elephant. I was so enamored with Effie, I tried to take her and put her in our car to take her home with us! I did get caught….as if a baby elephant was something one could put in their pocket. My dad took a picture of me pulling Effie by her chain, which I’d love to share with you if you want. It’s upsetting to learn how badly she and other animals there were treated, and glad to know how well things have turned around since then. I love that zoo – still!

  7. As a child, I sat on the back of Effie when she first came to the zoo. I remember her as being touted as the symbol of Oakland!
    It was so thrilling and I remember she had a hairy head! 🐘 🐘

  8. I too loved effie!! My parents lived in San leandro but we went to that park all the time….I loved effie..I still remember how sweet she was. And the gorilla’s who threw “stuff” at us…lol….

  9. I am now 71 years old. My siblings and I have the best memories of Effie. Whenever we go down memory lane, Effie always comes into the conversation. We also have great memories of Lake Merritt.
    We left Oakland in December of 1959 and traveled the world with my father’s job, but we took Effie with us.
    We will always love her.

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