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Black and white photograph from the Getz Lakewood Farm and Zoo. The photo shows a man walking in front of a garage type structure, there 2 other individuals looking in the building. Handwritten on the back of the photo it says, "Getz Farm, I 1920".
George Fulmer Getz was born on 12-26-1863 in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania to John and Amanda Getz. At the age of ten George left home. Soon after arriving in Chicago he began working as a messenger boy with the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. Eventually George moved up in the company becoming a telegraph operator and then a yardmaster.
In 1895 George went into business for himself. His business interests included coal, ice, banking, steel, hotel, newspaper, manufacturing, and transportation. George consolidated his interests in 1901 when he organized the Globe Corporation.
George married Susan Daniel in 1904, and they had two sons together-- George F. Getz, Jr. and James R. Getz. In 1910, George and Susan Getz came to Holland, MI and bought land along Lake Michigan. The house and property built by George would become known as Lakewood Farm and included animals, a zoological exhibit and greenhouses.
The animals at Lakewood Farm included a hippo, a rhino, lions, a leopard, monkeys, tigers, bears and an elephant named "Nancy". The public was welcome to visit the "Getz Zoo" and for many years there was no entrance fee. In 1933, George Getz donated his entire zoo to the Chicago Zoological Society. George Getz died on February 11, 1938.