Did P.T. Barnum Keep Live Whales in His Museum on Broadway?
P.T. Barnum ran a popular museum on the corner of Ann Street and Broadway. Live animals were among its perennial attractions. The whales, brought from Labrador in a refrigerated train car, lived in a huge tank within the large wooden building. When a giant fire broke out in July, 1865, the glass tank was broken in an effort to quench the flames and the whales left to flop on the floor. After the fire, at least one whale carcass was left to rot on Broadway for several days, perfuming the atmosphere and drawing flies.