Location & Hours



What in the World is This?!?

December 20, 2019

What in the World is This?!?

A prehistoric Mastodon bone?  An ancient Native American artifact?  Human remains? When Lichterman Nature Center staff member Will Baranski stumbled upon this piece while cleaning a forested trail on the Nature Center grounds, he thought it may be a rare find. He was in for a surprise…. 

After all the guessing and intrigue, what Baranski found was a shoulder blade of a cow. While the origin of the item was a bit disappointing, finding the cow bone did raise the question of how did it end up at Lichterman Nature Center?  

Lichterman Nature Center used to be home to a working dairy farm in 1938 when William H. Terry, the famous baseball player and manager of the New York Giants, purchased the property to become the estate’s fifth owner. Ira J. Lichterman and William A. Loewenburg, brothers-in law and business partners in the Southern Leather Company, purchased the now 65-acre property which is our City’s Nature Center today.     

Terry spent most of his time converting the once country estate of Clarence Saunders into a working dairy farm. He eliminated the golf course present at the time and returned the area to pastureland.  A large milking barn was built on the southeast corner of the property, now Ridgeway High School. 

The shoulder blade is evidence of the dairy cattle living on the farm in the 1930’s and 1940’s.  If your students would like to explore the history of Lichterman along with more bones, send them over to the Nature Center for an owl pellet dissection lab or Fall Break STEM Camp (October 8-12, 2018).  More information is available at memphismuseums.org.  Walk on the wild side this fall!

< Back to Nature Notes