For years before he was stuffed and put on display at the Elks Lodge in Ashland, a seven-point elk known as Teddy Roosevelt was a key attraction at Ashland’s Lithia Park Zoo.
According to an old Lodge Bulletin, a group of Elks bought Teddy from a California game farm and presented him to the city of Ashland. However, an article in the Ashland Daily Tidings, Jan. 10, 1936, states that Teddy was born in Lithia Park on July 8, 1922.
By age 13 Teddy had grown so mean that the zoo decided to release him to the wilds. Obviously, they hadn’t included Teddy in the decision. As soon as he was released at Ashland Gap, he headed straight back to the easy life of the zoo.
The zoo returned him to the Elks after he attacked and fatally injured the zoo keeper, Rolland Jordan.
The Elks sent Teddy to the slaughterhouse on Oak Street and had him butchered at Petersen’s market in Ashland before being sent to Cumming’s Fir Shop in Klamath Falls for stuffing.
A lodge old-timer, when asked what happened to Teddy, simply replied, “We ‘et him.” In fact, four barbecue banquets featured Teddy.
Sources: Ashland Daily Tidings, Ashland, Ore. Jan. 10, 1936 and Nov. 19, 2008. Personal interview: Usselman, Karen (Ashland Elks Lodge), phone conversation with the author, Feb. 12, 2009. As It Was is a co-production of Jefferson Public Radio and the Southern Oregon Historical Society. As It Was stories are broadcast weekdays on Jefferson Public Radio and are available online at asitwas.org.