In Gene C. Reid Park, the waterfall-graced hill dividing the park's paddle-boat lake from its fishing lake is named Barnum Hill. This hill was named for Willis E. Barnum in 1993. Barnum helped found Gene C. Reid (formerly Randolph) Park.
In the mid-1920s, Tucson wanted to buy land for a new park, but could not afford the then-princely sum of $14,896. Barnum, bought the parcel, and turned it over to the city via a long-term purchase agreement.
Barnum is also the namesake of Barnum Rock on Mt. Lemmon in the Santa Catalina mountains. During the 1920s Barnum Rock was used as a fire lookout by Boy Scouts who volunteered to help the Forest Service.
In 2017, voters passed Propositions 202 and 203, allowing the Reid Park Zoo to continue expanding using a small city sales tax increase for a period of ten years. New exhibits include a “Pathway to Asia” exhibit featuring tigers and red pandas, and expansions to the African and South American exhibits. The Tucson City Council halted the project for 45 days in 2021 after public outcry against the expansion into Reid Park, which would have destroyed the southern duck pond and Barnum Hill. The new design for expansion will take over parking lots instead.
“History under the shade trees.” Arizona Daily Star. July 27, 1993. Page A8.
“Wrapping up 1993." Arizona Daily Star.January 1, 1994. Page D1.
The San Pedro River Valley: On a clear day you can see the Gila National Forest in New Mexico from here!, opens a new window | HMdb.org The Historical Marker Database
“Expansion planned at the Reid Park Zoo, opens a new window.” Arizona Daily Star. Caliente section. July 9, 2009. Page 23.
Ludden, Nicole. “Tucson City Council votes to pause Reid Park Zoo expansion project.” Arizona Daily Star, March 9, 2021.
Cullen, Noah. “New plan in works for Reid Park Zoo expansion.” Arizona Daily Star, November 13, 2021.
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