Schoolgirl's Essay on the Coxville Zoo

This is an essay written by a student at an Austin school in approximately 1952. Included with this essay is a hand-drawn map of Coxville Zoo, possibly the only one in existence.

Jeanie Beal
English 9
Mrs. Johnson


Coxville Zoo, so-called because Mr. Al Cox and his son own it, is situated among a huge clump of trees on the Dallas Highway. To get there from Congress Avenue and Eleventh Street, you turn left and go on up to Guadalupe street, where you turn right. Continue on Guadalupe the rest of the way out there. The name of Guadalupe changes to North Highway, or Dallas Highway. After reaching the city limits, go four miles further, and look for Coxville Zoo on the left side of the hiqhway.

The charge for entering is twenty-five cents for adults, and ten cents for children. If you are unable to pay, you may visit free of charge.

As you enter, you will probably hear nearly every kind of noise imaginable that an animal can make, because there are over five hundred different kinds of birds and animals, ranging from monkeys, bears, and alligators, to lovebirds, birds of paradise, and hens from Africa. Some of these birds, such as the one of paradise and the peacock, are so beautiful that a few Indians come to the zoo every year, at opening of spring, and gather up their shed feathers which they highly prize and adore.

This unique zoo was started as a hobby in 1939, and the first animal was a monkey. The monkey started out as a household pet of the Coxes, and became one of the much-stared-at animals in the zoo.

Beside the zoo, there is a beautiful rock garden, built as a hobby by Mr. and Mrs. M. J. Cox. Mrs. Cox was interested in building small size houses, and modeling things out of clay. As a result, she has built a "little city" surrounding a fish pond. Mr. Cox helped her build the school house, with a teacher and children all around it, a rail-road station with toy tracks and train, a house with a manger scene, a home, and people everywhere. In back of the little city are the natural rock formations. These rocks have been found all over the United States and brought back to Coxville. You have to use your imagination a bit, but you can find bears, mermaids, squirrels, dogs, rats, and anything else you would like to imagine.

There have been quite a few generous people who have given animals to the zoo. An oil man once gave a mountain lion, and a man with a traveling show gave a baboon. There is one little boy in Austin who boards his monkey out there during the winter, and takes him back home during the summer, when the monkey can stay outside, because his mother doesn't like to have it in the house. People who have found large turtles have often given them to the zoo, also.

Many improvements have been added since the zoo began its life thirteen years ago. [The zoo was started in 1939; it appears that this essay was written in 1952.] Cages for the wild monkeys and baboons were built about three years ago. Huge cages for the lions, and a large pool for the alligators were added six months ago.

The hired man keeps care of feeding the animals and keeping the zoo clean, but Mr. Cox does most of the work. The animals eat a terrific amount of food every week, and there is a sign out there asking you to drop a nickel or dime in the donation can to keep them all fed. Here is what the sign says.

The nickel and dime that you drop in for donation can buy food for these animals. These animals eat in one week; 374 pounds of meat, two barrels of bread, 100 pounds horse meat, and mule feed, 224 bananas, 100 pounds chicken scratch, grapes, peanuts, honey, cakes, cookies, and many other things. This private zoo was started as a hobby in 1939. I have bought most of these animals, and built cages for them. I give most of my time caring for them. So don't forget the donation cans on each side of the gate.

Thank you,


This is a map of the Coxville Zoo created by Jeanie Beal, the student who wrote this essay. The top of the map faces west. If you know who Jeanie Beal is, or if you know anyone who remembers the Coxville Zoo, please let us know!

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