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  • Audubon Zoo - New Orleans LA
    "The Audubon Zoo is a zoo located in New Orleans, Louisiana. It is part of the Audubon Nature Institute which also manages the Aquarium of the Americas. The zoo covers 58 acres (23 ha) and is home to 2,000 animals. It is located in a section of Audubon Park in Uptown New Orleans, on the Mississippi River side of Magazine Street. The zoo and park are named in honor of artist and naturalist John James Audubon who lived in New Orleans starting in 1821... During the Great Depression a $400,000 expansion of the zoo was conducted by the Works Progress Administration. Many...
  • Audubon Zoo, Monkey Hill - New Orleans LA
    "Perhaps the highest return on investment ever earned on a few thousand federal dollars came in the form of a pile of dirt in a rather forlorn park at the depth of the Depression. The agency behind it was the Civil Works Administration, the park was Audubon, and the dirt is now known as Monkey Hill. Contrary to popular belief, the Works Progress Administration did not build Monkey Hill; the mound was nearly complete before the WPA came into existence with the 1935 Emergency Relief Appropriation Act. Nor was the hill a primary goal of the project, much less a designed landscape...
  • Brackenridge Park, Reptile Farm (demolished) - San Antonio TX
    The Reptile Farm had originally opened in 1933 in close proximity to the Witte Museum. It would move twice before coming to this final location in 1937 when permanent stone structures replaced the temporary structures made of planks, barbed wire and old sheet metal. The NYA assisted museum employees in constructing the large tank and surrounding snake houses. It is on the edge of the Witte Museum property which is in the boundaries of Brackenridge Park. The Reptile Farm was a huge success from the time it opened. Attendees paid a dime to walk through the amphitheater-like enclosure to view snakes,...
  • Buffalo Zoo Animal House Improvements - Buffalo NY
    Works Progress Administration (WPA) laborers constructed and renovated animal houses in the Buffalo Zoo. WPA improvements at the Buffalo Zoo included work on the Sea Lion house and pool (shown above), and construction of new pens for the Sika and Fallow Deer (shown below). More information is needed to determine the current status of these projects.
  • Buffalo Zoo Entrance Court - Buffalo NY
    "Buffalo Zoo Entrance Court – funded by the federal Works Progress Administration (WPA), the entry court and gates (1935-38) are the most intact surviving work of John Edmonston Brent, one of few African Americans practicing as both an architect and a landscape architect in the early twentieth century."
  • Central Park Zoo - New York NY
    The Central Park Zoo was built over the course of eight months in 1934 by workers employed by the Civil Works Administration and, after that program’s demise, by the Federal Emergency Relief Administration. It succeeded the old Central Park Menagerie, a once popular attraction that by the early 1930s was so severely dilapidated that Parks Department officials feared its lions and tigers would break out of the rotted wood structures that housed them. Newly-appointed Parks Commissioner Robert Moses set about replacing the menagerie, not with a full-sized zoo, but with what he called a “picture-book zoo”—a smaller-scale facility meant as...
  • Cincinnati Zoo: Bear Pit - Cincinnati OH
    The Public Works Administration funded the construction of the Bear Pit at the Cincinnati Zoo in Cincinnati OH. The enclosure contained three pits for polar and brown bears. The design of the exhibit sought to emulate a natural environment for the animals. The project was completed in 1937. The construction cost was $94,873 and the total cost was $107,041.
  • Cincinnati Zoo: Reptile Building - Cincinnati OH
    The Public Works Administration funded the construction of the Reptile Building at the Cincinnati Zoo in Cincinnati OH. The design of the exhibits and air conditioning system sought to emulate the natural habitat for the animals. The diorama exhibits included an artificial swamp, rocks, pools of water, and sand.   The project was completed in 1937. The construction cost was $120,199 and the total cost was $130,395.
  • City Park - Idaho Falls ID
    From an Idaho Falls city press release: "In 1934, the city of Idaho Falls purchased land in Tautphaus Park, then called 'City Park,' and in 1935 the first zoo animals were brought to the park. Log buildings were erected throughout the park and financed as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project.  Some of these buildings can still be seen on zoo grounds and now serve as an education center and a storage barn."  
  • Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Development - Cleveland OH
    The federal Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.) supplied labor for the development of what is now known as the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.
  • Como Park Zoo Improvements - St. Paul MN
    The WPA constructed several structures at the Como Zoo in the 1930s. From the Como Zoo's website: “In 1897, the City of Saint Paul fenced-in a pasture in Como Park to hold three deer gifted to them, thus beginning Como Zoo. Thirty-some years later the first major construction project was federally funded through the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The 1930s’ WPA projects included the bear grotto, Monkey Island, the barn and the Main Zoo building.” The following quotes are from Larry Millet's Guide to the Twin Cities (2007). Gateposts: "These brick and stone gateposts originally stood at the front entrance of the...
  • Denver Zoo: Monkey Island - Denver CO
    Monkey Island, built by the WPA in 1937, was the only notable New Deal addition to the Denver Zoo. It was rehabilitated in the 1950s.
  • Detroit Zoological Park Exhibit Improvements - Royal Oak MI
    New Deal agencies undertook a variety of improvements at the Detroit Zoological Park in Royal Oak, Michigan. Between 1933 and 1937, the Civil Works Administration (CWA), the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA), and the Works Progress Administration (WPA) funded and built exhibits, service facilities, and buildings at the park. “The Federal Government, as means of alleviating the distressful unemployment condition in Detroit, appropriated funds in 1933-1934 under the CWA and the FERA for construction work at the Detroit Zoological Park. As a result, an extensive program was carried out which practically completed the western end of the park and comprised the...
  • Detroit Zoological Park Improvements - Royal Oak MI
    New Deal agencies undertook a variety of improvements at the Detroit Zoological Park in Royal Oak, Michigan. Between 1933 and 1937, the Civil Works Administration (CWA), the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA), and the Works Progress Administration (WPA) funded and built exhibits, service facilities, and buildings at the park. The WPA carried out construction and landscaping in the park between 1935 and 1937. This investment resulted in the completion of an animal hospital and administration building.  (Detroit Zoo website)  
  • Dickerson Park Zoo - Springfield MO
    The zoo was established in 1922, but was only developed with the help of the WPA for both labor and funds in the 1930s.  The walkways, stone bridges, stone walls, and stone buildings date from the WPA development.
  • Fort Worth Zoo Improvements - Fort Worth TX
    The Works Progress Administratio built several cages and exhibits at the Fort Worth city zoo.
  • Franklin Park Zoo Improvements - Boston MA
    The Works Progress Administration made improvements to the Franklin Park Zoo. This project sought to improve the lion house, monkey house, and build machine and carpenter shop and garage extensions and a storage building. The total cost of the proposed project was $137,050.14 of which $94,349.50 would be provided by federal funding. This would account for the cost of materials and labor. This federal project was controversial and ended in litigation. The federal government sued the city of Boston for $4787.65 due to diversion of WPA of wages, although there were claims totaling nearly $11,000.
  • Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium Improvements - Omaha NE
    The Works Progress Administration (WPA) constructed cat and bear cages at what was then known as the Riverview Park Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska. A 1936 article cites "new cement cages" begun in the fall of 1935 that would house animals once the WPA completed construction. The status of the project is unknown to Living New Deal.
  • Highland Park Development - Pittsburgh PA
    The Works Progress Administration (WPA) conducted multiple projects in Highland Park in Pittsburgh. "In Highland Park, WPA workers built stone steps throughout the park and modernized the main zoo building." Another article notes that the WPA built a "rhino quarters" at the zoo in 1939.
  • Hillcrest Park - Clovis NM
    "In Clovis, the Curry County Court House is listed as one of the buildings built in 1936. Twila Ky Rutter, Grant Facilitator and Procurement Clerk, unable to locate a photograph of the building as it was originally, referred me to Don McAlavy, a local historian. He didn't have the photo I was chasing but he gave me other valuable information: i.e., the sunken garden and the arch over Hillcrest Park as WPA projects. The City provided materials, much of which were found in the area, and WPA provided manpower. There are other evidences of WPA work in Clovis but remodeling...
  • Jackson Zoo - Jackson MS
    The federal Works Progress Administration (WPA) constructed buildings at the Jackson Zoological park in Mississippi. Several newer buildings are attributed to the WPA by some sources; however, the only ones documented WPA structures are the zoo's former rhinoceros house, old concession stand, and old restrooms.
  • Lake Superior Zoo - Duluth MN
    Lake Superior Zoo's website states: "The Duluth Zoo weathered through the depression years and the W.P.A. (Works Progress Administration) Program built bridges over Kingsbury Creek and many animal enclosures (including the elephant house) that are still serving the zoo today." Waymarker: "This majestic and historic bluestone picnic pavilion was built during the Great Depression in the late 1930’s, under the auspices of the Works Progress Administration (WPA Program). Many similar buildings were constructed across the United States during this period, creating useful, beautiful and lasting structures for the benefit of the public while providing meaningful employment during the depression. The Lake Superior...
  • Little Rock Zoo - Little Rock AR
    The Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.) had a great impact on War Memorial Park, including constructing "the original zoo buildings" at Little Rock Zoo.
  • Los Angeles Zoo (former) - Los Angeles CA
    Although the zoo was shut down in 1965, the grounds are still standing and open to the public for walking and picnics, and the site is often used in film and photo locations. A sign at the old zoo reads as follows: "The Griffith Park canyon area served as the City's Zoo from its founding in 1912 to 1965, when the Los Angeles Zoo moved to its current location about two miles north of where you are currently standing. Many of the walls, grottos, and other enclosures you see today were built in the 1930s by County Relief workers and Works...
  • Memphis Zoo Improvements - Memphis TN
    The federal Works Progress Administration (WPA) enlarged worked to improve Memphis Zoo during the Great Depression. Federal labor installed a pair of stone lions at the entrance; constructed a metal cage for bird flight; built Monkey Island and Ibex Mountain; pools for sea lions and swans; and stone cages for large animals. Monkey Island was occupied by 55 Simians in seven-unit quarters at opening, and was completed at a cost of what was then $14,764.
  • Mesker Park Zoo Foot Bridge - Evansville IN
    Concrete deck footbridge over a small ravine, abutments, two feet high on both sides with squars piers on each end, abutments built of brick faced with rock facestone, capped with limestone. Article in Evansville Courier 1/30/38 may refer to Works Progress Administration (WPA) building these in 1937. Additional work done by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).
  • Mesker Park Zoo Retaining Wall - Evansville IN
    About 12" high on inside, top 2' regular finish. Stone wall on outside 4' high, on inside depending on topography can be as much as 12' high, wall used as fence from outside and to define outside boarder, also section used as retaining wall for dirt embankment for St. Joseph Ave, well is 2' high with small sharp stones embedded in top, built at locally, grained limestone sot with mortar, smooth finish side except for top 2' on the inside which is rough, St. Joseph and Buchanan where the wall turns 90 degree, there is a sq stone pier 5x5...
  • Myrick Park Zoo - La Crosse WI
    Construction of a main shelter at the Myrick Park Zoo as part of a WPA project. The Zoo is currently closed.
  • National Zoo: Additions and Improvements - Washington DC
    The New Deal years 1933 to 1941 were arguably the best years in the history of the National Zoo, thanks to the many projects undertaken by the Roosevelt Administration.  Labor was provided by work-relief programs — the Civil Works Administration (CWA), Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA), and Works Progress Administration (WPA) — and construction was funded by the Public Works Administration (PWA) and, later, the Federal Works Agency (FWA). New Deal agencies built or improved virtually every aspect of the zoo.  The PWA paid for a new elephant house and small mammal house and an addition to the bird house.  It funded...
  • National Zoo: Bird House Addition - Washington DC
    The south wing of the Bird House at National Zoo – which had been left off the original building in 1927-28 – was constructed in 1936 with funding from the Public Works Administration (PWA). It completed the the imposing, Romanesque style Bird House, adding space for more cages/exhibits and housing the Bird Resource Center. The PWA contributed around $1 million to several zoo improvement projects in the 1930s, including new elephant house, a small mammal house and an addition to the bird house.  The separate cost of the Bird House addition is undetermined.  The original building had been design by Albert Harris and the...
  • National Zoo: Elephant House - Washington DC
    The Elephant House at National Zoo was built in 1936-37 with a grant from the Public Works Administration (PWA). At the time, it was known as the Pachyderm House; it is also sometimes called the Large Mammal House.   The Elephant House was designed in 1935 by Edwin Hill Clark, lead architect for all the New Deal additions to the National Zoo, as well as the Philadelphia zoo in 1930s.  The work was supervised by the Treasury Department Procurement Division's architectural office.  The actual construction was undertaken by private contractors, Harwood-Nebel Construction and Huffman and Brown. The Elephant House includes both indoor enclosures and rustic...
  • National Zoo: Machine and Carpentry Shops Building - Washington DC
    The Machine and Carpenter Shops building was constructed at the National Zoo in 1936-37, with a grant from the Public Works Administration (PWA). The PWA paid for four buildings and other improvements to the zoo in the 1930s. In 1938, the National Zoo reported that “fiscal year 1937 was probably the most outstanding in the history of the Zoo.  The construction under the Public Works Administration grant of $892,920 was completed. These improvements include… machine and carpenter shops...”  The separate cost of the Machine & Carpenter Shops building is not specified in the reports. The Zoo report described the new utility building as...
  • National Zoo: Mane Cafe - Washington DC
    The Public Works Administration (PWA) funded the building for a restaurant at National Zoo, constructed in 1939-40.  The restaurant building still serves the public today as the Mane Cafe. In its 1939 fiscal year report, the National Zoo noted: “The Public Works Administration allotted the sum of $90,000 for the much-needed restaurant building at the Park. Work on plans for this building was commenced immediately by the Supervising Architect, Procurement Division, Treasury Department, and in a short time it is expected that bids will be let and construction begun. This will be a marked improvement in the service that the Zoo gives...
  • National Zoo: New Exhibit Areas - Washington DC
    From 1933 to 1941, New Deal relief workers added a number of new animal exhibit areas to the National Zoo, as well as improving existing enclosures.  The following are sketches of the significant work performed at a dozen areas, taken from the Zoo’s annual reports, with the relevant relief agency and years in parentheses.  Many of these exhibit improvements appear to still exist today, as shown in the photographs below.  Further verification is needed, but much of the stone and concrete work is typical of the New Deal era. Antelope and wild sheep exhibit “Replacing old and unsatisfactory frame structure by a series...
  • National Zoo: Small Mammal House - Washington DC
    The Public Works Administration (PWA) funded a Small Mammal House at the National Zoo, constructed in 1937.  It was one of several buildings paid for by the PWA and many other improvements made at the zoo by New Deal relief agencies. It is a brick building done in Italian Renaissance style, with a triple-arch entry, one semicircular end, limestone trim and tile roofing.  It includes a ventilation system. The designed was done in 1935 by Edwin Hill Clark, lead architect for all the New Deal additions to the National Zoo, as well as the Philadelphia zoo, in 1930s.  The work was supervised...
  • Oakland Municipal Zoo Improvements (former) - Oakland CA
    The Works Progress Administration (WPA) made improvements to the Oakland city zoo in 1935-36 when it was located in Sequoia Park (now Joaquin Miller Park). In 1939, the zoo relocated to its present site in Durant Park in the East Oakland hills. WPA project cards show the approval of  $4,791 toward "Enlargement of elephant paddock in Sequoia Park; clearing out young Acacia growth in Park" in 1935  and $17,940 for "Landscaping - Sequoia and Heights Parks - Oakland, etc." in 1936 The WPA also built the Woodminster Amphitheater and Cascade in Joaquin Miller Park later in the 1930s.
  • Potter Park Zoo: Monkey Island (demolished) - Lansing MI
    "Monkey Island, (converted to a bighorn sheep exhibit in the 1990s, and now removed as of 2010), was constructed by the Works Progress Administration in 1936."
  • Prospect Park Zoo - Brooklyn NY
    "This collection of animals was formalized as the Prospect Park Zoo on Flatbush Avenue that opened to the public on July 3, 1935. A Works Progress Administration (WPA) project, the zoo was part of a massive citywide park improvement program initiated and executed by former Parks Commissioner Robert Moses... As with its WPA cousin in Central Park, the Prospect Park Zoo showcased limestone relief work by F.G.R. Roth, still visible today; the eleven bas-reliefs are based on Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book stories and depict Mowgli, the boy raised by wolves... As was the case with the Central Park Zoo, time and better...
  • Pueblo Zoo - Pueblo CO
    Multiple New Deal agencies collaborated in the development of the Pueblo Zoo, a component of the City Park complex. The stunning stone structures at the zoo (and throughout the park) are still in use. "The two-and-one-half acre zoo contains an assortment of buildings and structures constructed between 1933 and 1940, utilizing native calcium sandstone quarried 25 miles west of Pueblo. The zoo exemplifies the trend toward exhibiting animals in more natural settings. The Pueblo Zoo was constructed during the Great Depression through the efforts of three New Deal agencies: the Public Works Administration; Civil Works Administration; and the Works Progress Administration."...
  • San Antonio Zoo Improvements - San Antonio TX
    "In 1928 the San Antonio Zoological Society, a nonprofit organization, was established to purchase animals to be housed adjoining Brackenridge and Koehler parks on a fifty-acre tract of land from a Spanish grant that belonged to the city. The site had been a rock quarry, and the resultant limestone cliffs provided a "natural" habitat for the animals. The San Antonio River flowed through the area, and an extensive canal system was developed using its water. The zoo opened in 1929 with 344 specimens in the collection, including seventy-two white-tailed deer and sixty-seven ring-necked doves." (Bowers, 2010) In 1935, the San Antonio...
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