Como 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 Oliver Crosby Estate (“Stonebridge”) along Mississippi River Blvd. in St. Paul. The gateposts were moved here and rebuilt by the Works Progress Administration in 1937 after the estate was subdivided.”

The zoo also contains a 1936 Zoological Building (now offices), 1930s Bear Grottoes, and a 1939 barn for hoofed animals:

“Along with some restrooms, a small mill house, and a waterwheel, these are the oldest structures at the zoo, built under the auspices of the Works Progress Administration. The grottoes and barn display the rough stonework often used for WPA projects, as did the old Monkey Island before being rebuilt. The office building, originally the main zoo building, is a more formal Moderne-style work.”

Source notes

Millett, Larry. 2007. AIA Guide to the Twin Cities: The Essential Source on the Architecture of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Minnesota Historical Society.

Mandy Moran Froemming, “Commission marks rich history of Green Haven,” ABC Newspapers, accessed August 9, 2014. 

Como Zoo website

Project originally submitted by Natalie Heneghan on December 28, 2014.

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.


Location Info

Midway Parkway & Hamline Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55108

Coordinates: 44.981081, -93.156643

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