Public Works Project

Jackson Park Animals Bridge


In a city known for its innovative bridge designs, this is one of the most fanciful examples of a bridge type in Chicago. It was the winning entry in a 1903 competition sponsored by the South Park Commission and its architect, Peter Weber, had worked with Daniel Burnham and Frederick Law Olmsted on the design of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition (also located in Jackson Park). This bridge, which spans a portion of the park’s extensive system of lagoons, features wind and water-related themes, including the carvings of ship prows, water deities, and the heads of hippos and rhinos. Over the years, the protruding animal heads had been damaged by vandals and the entire bridge was discolored from pollution, road salts, and graffiti. In January 2002, as part of major improvements to South Lake Shore Drive, the Chicago Department of Transportation began a three-year reconstruction effort for the bridge. Granite and sandstone elements were removed, cleaned, and repaired or replicated; the road was widened by 50 feet; and the masonry cladding was reinstalled in its original placement. The complicated stone restoration work was coordinated by Johnson/Lasky Architects.

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