Animal Bridge Reopening
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The "Animal Bridge" across the channel between Jackson Park Inner and Outer harbors- graphics and ph0t0s

The bridge was reopened in May, 2003 and rededicated in September, 2003.
The bridge reconstruction and the replacement heads' sculptor, Paul Petreanu (Galloy and Van Etten) were honored with a Paul Cornell Award by Hyde Park Historical Society at its Annual Dinner, February 5, 2005.

Bridge location in plan of 1895 (center of plan) and as shown built in 1905 park plan. Note the span has moved considerably to the south, to the southwest corner of the Outer Harbor. Views courtesy of KemperLesnik Integrated Communications for CDOT and Johnson-Lasky Architects. (Last drawings are 2001 by Johnson-Lasky Architects.)

Harbors location of future Animal Bridge, 1895. Following views Kemper Lesnik

Animal Bridge site as reconfigured by time of construction, 1905


Vicinity plan, Animal Bridge


The South Bridge is significant as a key structure in the design of Jackson Park. The bridge was conceived as a viewing point for vistas within the park and is an important architectural element within the pastoral composition of the park. It spans the channel between the south harbor and inner lagoon and is constructed of granite and sandstone facing over reinforced concrete. Sculptured hippopotamus heads, water deities and prows of boats adorn the sides of the bridge, reflecting the wind and water themes that were integral to Olmsted's vision of the south park system.

The bridge is a single 40 foot span in the form of an elliptical reinforced concrete arch. It is an early example of the use of the Kahn steel reinforcing system in an arched concrete bridge structure. The first patents for this system were taken out in 1902. The bridge was built to the plans of Peter J. Weber in 1903 following a competition and was built in the following year by Thomas E Hill.

The quarry, stone shop drawings, and original construction drawings, copies courtesy of KemperLesnik Integrated Communications.

Advertizing frontispiece for kettle River quarry Drawing fo the span
Views of the quarry Views of the quarry

Detail drawing with quary blocks numbered

as above

Drawing for reconstructed, relocated bridge Drawing for reconstructed, relocated bridge
Replacement detail  

Below: views of the bridge c. 2000-2002 before dismantling. Note the utilities on the side, which will now be enclosed. The pedestrian bridge will be replaced by sidewalks on the bridge. The bridge will be c 20 feet north, in part for channel rationalization (channel wall has been rebuilt) and in part to accommodate the new pedestrian underpass to the south. The stone blocks and sculptured heads have been cleaned of their graffiti and restored. Note the phantasm half way down? Is it Billy Goat Gruff the troll under the bridge? Or is it the prow of a Viking ship such as was sailed across the Atlantic to the 1893 Exposition?
Boaters wish the bridge could have been raised, but that is impossible given local topography, roadway gradient needs, and historic mandate. Source of graphics: KemperLesnik.

The old bridge before dismantling Angel view of the old bridge
Detail of  old bridge foundation and part of truss Detail of old bridge undeer truss and animal heads
Bridge and deteriorating seawall with obscuring infrastructure pipes from the east A head, half ram half troll? (Billy Goat Gruff?)  or Vioking ship prow? Kemper Lesnik
Turtles and hipopotomi, oh my! Animal Bridge - Kemper Lesnik Heads as reinstalled including hippo, ships prow. Gary Ossewaarde
Before dismantling and restoration- grafiiti. Head of a king or troll (Niebelung?)
Row of heads as reinstalled  

above left: as it looked at the rededication in September, 2003. Later with the ped underpass: in Animal Bridge Text.