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Photo of the Week, 85: Tarzan Gets Heartfelt Farewell, April 1941

On April 5, 1941,

On April 5, 1941, "Tarzan," a beloved crow well known to children in the Illinois Wesleyan University neighborhood, was laid to rest in the backyard of the Elwood O. Allison home, 202 West Union Street in Bloomington. Some 40 mourners were led by Richard Allison (holding the coffin) and his brother Harold, third in line with his arms on a smaller boy.

Tarzan was a somewhat domesticated crow known to visit the IWU campus and make his way through windows and into classrooms. Unhappily, someone poisoned Tarzan with phosphorus and he died while being cared for by the Allisons. "Weak and wracked with pain, he flew from the davenport to the wicker chair in the Allison home," reported The Pantagraph. "Mrs. [Hazel] Allison put him on the back of the chair, but he was too weak to hold his perch and fell to the seat. He died at 3:55 p.m. in Mrs. Allison's arms."

Dr. Franklin Mortimer, IWU professor of chemistry, conducted an autopsy and confirmed Tarzan had been poisoned. The Allison boys made the small wooden coffin, even adding a coat of varnish. The Allison home was razed sometime between 1953 and 1961 and the lot has been used for parking ever since, first for an Eisner grocery store and today for U-Haul vans and trucks (the U-Haul building between Main and Center was first a Piggly Wiggly and then an Eisner's).

Bill Kemp

Bill Kemp

Bill Kemp is the Librarian at the McLean County Museum of History

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