“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Trenton in Mercer County, New Jersey — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Briar Patch

Briar Patch Marker image. Click for full size.
By Gary Nigh, November 2007
1. Briar Patch Marker

“Oldest known black bear to live in captivity”

Nothing is lost that leaves a memory
Erected 1983.
Location. 40° 14.227′ N, 74° 47.306′ W. Marker is in Trenton, New Jersey, in Mercer County. Touch for map. This marker is inside Cadwalader Park near the main entrance from Parkside Avenue near the Mercer County Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument. Marker is in this post office area: Trenton NJ 08618, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Mercer County Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument (within shouting distance of this marker); The Swamp Angel (within shouting distance of this marker); Cadwalader Park (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Ellarslie (about 400 feet away); John A. Roebling (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Hermitage (approx. ¾ mile away); Dorothea Dix (was approx. 0.9 miles away but has been reported missing. ); Emlen House (approx. 1.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Trenton.
Regarding Briar Patch.
Trentonian, June 10, 1983, Page 1
Briar Patch Buried – Oldest Black Bear

After munching
Briar Patch image. Click for full size.
By Trenton Times, circa 1979
2. Briar Patch
on her favorite meal of honeydew, cantaloupe, peaches and blueberries, all coated with honey, Briar Patch was put to sleep yesterday – ending the life and longest captivity of an American black bear.

The 360-pound omnivorous mammal was injected first with a sedative and then with a lethal overdose of phenobarbital shortly after 5:30 a.m.

She was then placed in a coffin and buried 8 feet underground near the cage in which she was confined most of her life.

A memorial, costing $1,700 and paid for by Animals in Distress, will be placed over her grave in several weeks.

Briar Patch was put to sleep after veterinarian Dr, John Carver determined that her paralysis was so severe it could lead to infestation. City officials said her hind quarters were immobile and she had to use her front paws to drag her body across the den.
City officials said the bear is at least 30 years old. An official from the San Diego Zoo said the oldest known American black bear held in captivity was 28 years old.

Briar Patch was the last of four bears to live in the park but actually the fifth the city was given.
A spokesman for the Friends of Cadwalader said recently the first bear cub, named Kitty Hill after then city commissioner Edmund Hill, was given to the city in 1889, but before the bear was caged, it escaped.

Two bears, Carmichael and another
Briar Patch Marker image. Click for full size.
By Gary Nigh, November 2007
3. Briar Patch Marker
The Bear Pen can be seen in the background.
cub given to the city the same time as Briar Patch, choked to death in the den in 1953. The other bear was Petey.

With the death of Briar Patch comes the end of bears being kept at Cadwalader Park. [Mayor Arthur] Holland said it is inhumane to confine such large mammals to a small area.
Categories. Animals
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on January 6, 2008, by Gary Nigh of Trenton, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 2,249 times since then and 43 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on January 6, 2008, by Gary Nigh of Trenton, New Jersey.
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