By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Aug 21, 2021 at 11:02 AM

Last week, we shared 15 great photos of the Washington Park Zoo from its first three decades, all taken by Joseph Brown, who had his photography studio just blocks from the park.

Here is another batch of visual history from this Milwaukee landmark that endured from 1892 until 1963 when the zoo completed its move to its current location and changed its name to the Milwaukee County Zoo.

You can read a bit more history of the Washington Park Zoo here. Read about the construction of the current zoo here.

This group of images – courtesy of the Milwaukee County Zoo – dates from later years, roughly 1923 onward and includes shots of the then-revoutionary bar-less bears dens that were built by Works Progress Administration crews during the Depression.

There’s also a shot of the indoor aviary. An outdoor aviary was home to eagles, including bald eagles.

There is also a nice aerial view of the zoo before the Stadium Freeway was erected over 46th Street and the western edge of the park, including the zoo’s bear dens and elephant exhibit.

This work helped push forward the plan to find a new, larger home for the zoo.

Finally, no Washington Park Zoo story would be complete without photos of two beloved favorites, namely Samson the gorilla and Sim, the lion that famously lived for a time at the Central Library.

You can read more about Sim in this Milwaukee Public Library blog post.

Kangaroos, 1923

Bison paddock, 1929

Sim the Lion with lion keeper Bill Ehr, circa 1930

Masai giraffes, circa 1930

Bar-less bear exhibit, circa 1935

Monkey Island, 1938

Bison, winter 1940

Unidentified zoo location, circa 1940

Eagle aviary, undated

Sheep Mountain, undated

Sambo & Samson with Edith Scott, 1952

Aerial view, 1959

Zoo map

See 15 more vintage Washington Park Zoo photographs here.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.