Thomas E Meehan Superintendent Phila first Aquarium

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Thomas E Meehan Superintendent Phila first Aquarium - j 1 a a re- coun- be it by to to pre- to PHILS....
j 1 a a re- coun- be it by to to pre- to PHILS. WILL HAVE FINEST Mill Superintendent Meehan Expects It to Become World's Leader When Finish end Stock of Fisli to Be Great ancl Varied; Classes for "Pupils Are Likely Farriug the pet turtles which like to be tickled tinder their chins, tbe tiny fish which chews up oysters, shells and all. and the drum fish from Atlantic City, which eats two dollars' worth of clams, "in the shell" at a meal, tbe "fish stories" aT Philadelphia's aquarium in Fairmotint Park are few and far between, but its development has progressed to the point where it is about to become the greatest of its kind iu the United States, and possibly the world. Officials of the Fairmount Park Commission have been quietly transforming the whole underground area of the old J'airmount water works into a great chamber lined with glass-faced concrete tanks, in which thousands of rare rish from all over the world will be exhio itcd. The new section will have th" largest exhibition tank in the world, with a capacity of 20.000 gallons of sea water, more than fifty new tanks of unusually large size, a series of immense storage tanks for fish wuick are to be acclimated, or tended in other ways before being exhibited, and even a laboratory where school children witi be able to watch the development of tish from the eggs through microscopes and enlarging lenses. The finest stuffed specimens of fish of all varieties will be exhibited, and the study of sea science will be developed in all of its practical aspects. Open About Thanksgiving The new section of the aquarium will be opened about Thanksgiving, according to the plans of Thomas E. Meehan, superintendent of the place and picturesque white-hiared leader of Philadelphia's disciples of Isaac Walton. The opening will mark the realization of Mr. Median's dream of years,- which has been gradually developed into a reality. He began with a series of exhibits in small glass-sided tanks sych as can be purchased in the fish stfes. Enthusiasts who backed up Mr. Meehan' s first efforts seem to remember a few of the standard globe-shaped bowls ordinarily used for gold fish. They also remember the humble exhibits collected in the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers and from the net hauls at Young's Pier. Atlantic City. $50,000 Given for Aquarium City Council made an appropriation of $50,000 for the construction of a real aquarium some time ago, and aj a result a plan was worked out for the use of the entire area of the Fairmouut Water Works for this purpose. The central figure of the water works group is the old Graeff mansion, home of the man who designed and built i Philadelphia' first dependable water supply, and one of the most beautiful specimens of Colonial architecture :n the citv. The mansion was built high above the rivc level below the dam. and the chambers for the machinery stretched underground for more than a citv block to tiie north. Then they made an "elbow" turn toward the dam for another 150 feet. All was encased in solid masonry so beautifully laid that it is the envy of modern builders. The "elbow" of these underground chambers was the first to be improved, and nearly a score of tanks were install ed in it. They were built of concrete with glass facing, and so constructed that the light streamed in through the water from transoms overhead, ami made every moveireent of the tinny specimens clearly visible. This section has been open for some time, and has been stocked with specimens collected by a joint expedition sent to tropical waters under tbe auspices of the .ew York city aquarium and- the efforts and interest of local anglers who have turned over many of their unusual catches. 125-Year-old Snapper For instance, a well-known police lawyer whom few would suspect of angling for anything but business caught a mammoth snapper turtle near the Falls of Schuylkill some time ago and presented it to the aquarium. It occupies a tank all by itself now and is said by Superintendent Meehan to be at least 12.1 years old. Hundreds of specimens have come from the fish nets along the New Jersey coast, while wonderfully hued fish have been brought from Florida to add rays of hardly believable beauty to the som ber colors of the aquarium. The extension of this first effort was made by the Park Commission with odtls and ends of appropriations. Iiut despite every drawback the work is virtually completed on the second chamber which is some 200 feet long and reached through the (Jracff Mansion. The visitor goes down tbe old colonial stairs of the mansion to the basement which is just above the nveJ level. liocks pitted and carved by the cease less flow of the tides for thousands of years form a grotto in which immense glass plates are imbedded and weirdly-shaped fish flash through translucent sea water. A walk of forty feet through this eric passageway brings one into the im mense main chamber of the aquarium lined with tanks framed in dark bronze and perfectly lighted for the exhibition of the specimens. Water Brought in Tanks The tanks are now going through the process "of curing. They have to be soaked in a solution of lime, then a solu tion of vinegar and finally a solution of permanganate of potash to kill poisons developed in the concrete which would injure the fish. Finally they are to be filled with pure fresh water or real sea water which will be kept in good condition to frequent aeration and the use of growth ot water plants. The sea water has to be brought to the aquarium in lighters in which tanks are lifted. They go down (he Delaware bay to a point off Cape May and take aboard a cargo of deep sea water. Finest in Country Mr. Meehan says the new secliou when opened will complete an aquarium which will be the finest in the United States. It will have a greater exhibition space than the aquarium at the Batterv in New Y'ork city, though there will not be so many tanks nor will the exhibits be as rare and varied for some time to come. There will be many unique fea tures, however, including the immense tank where scores of varieties of tish that can get along amicabiy together will be exhibited along with an extraor dinary collection of marine plants. When the new section is opened it is expected that arrangements will be made oumeuiatety with tire Department of Superintendence of the Public Schools for the attendance of classes of ehil dreu at lectures to be given regularly. Lots of Teachers

Clipped from
  1. The Philadelphia Inquirer,
  2. 30 Oct 1921, Sun,
  3. Page 76

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  • Thomas E Meehan Superintendent Phila first Aquarium

    crazyfamily1942 – 03 Dec 2016

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