Apr 22, 2010

Mammoth Sold

Source: Muskegon Chronicle Thursday October 20, 1904
Transcribed (sic) by Holly Spencer

Grand Rapids School Board Gets It.

Compromises with Moorland Farmer for $300

“Greatest Specimen in America, “ Says Director Sargent-Bones of a Prehistoric Cow Now in Sight of Diggers.

Grand Rapids, Mich., October 20, - A meeting in special session the board of education yesterday afternoon appropriated $350 for the purchase of the complete skeleton of the mammoth found at Moorland on the farm of C.L. McKay. It is declared that the purchase will bring to Kent museum the greatest prehistoric specimen of this nature ever unearthed in North America.

It seems that some time ago a few of the mastodon bones, including the skull, were found on the McKay farm. At that time the committee secured this first find for $75. Later, however as other portions of the skeleton were unearthed and it became evident that one of the greatest discoveries of the age was in sight another collector came along and offered the farmer $500 for the whole skeleton.

Wanted his bones back

Mr. McKay then wanted the bones back which he had sold for $75 or else $500 for the whole thing. He finally compromised on $300. Of this amount $75 was paid on the original purchase by a purse made up by T. Stewart White and his friends.

Director Sargeant was present at yesterdays session and told the trustees that the city unquestionably has made a great find.

“From what I know of this subject, “ he declared, “I should say that we shall have the greatest mastodon specimen in America. The bones are in a beautiful state of preservation and are all present. We have even located two small bones about the size of a little finger and eight inches long which I believe are the tongue bones, and to my knowledge they are the first to ever be discovered. “

Another Skeleton in Sight

In ratifying the agreement with Mr. McKay and appropriating $225 additional for the mastodon and $125 for any further expenses which may be involved the board also gets title to any other bones which may be found, and Director Sargeant says there is already in sight the skeleton of a prehistoric cow.
Photo courtesy of Marilyn Merdzinski Director of Collections & Preservation
Grand Rapids Public Museum "Unfortunately, when the Museum moved into its new exhibition facility at 272 Pearl Street in 1994, the old Moorland mastodon was not able to be put back on exhibit because the condition of some of the bones had deteriorated and could no longer withstand the stress of being assembled to "stand upright". So, the Museum found a "stand-in" for our local mastodon & "hired" or acquired a cast of a similar mastodon specimen from the Illinois State Museum. That "cast" is what museum visitors now see when they enter the museum's old "Kent Scientific Museum" period room on the third floor of the Van Andel Museum Center."

Another article Monday....

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