The back of the elephant house.
I posted these photos of Franklin Park on my Remember Jamaica Plain blog four years ago, and I thought I'd share them here, as well. They come from the Library of Congress web site, and were taken in 1978. This was the end of the old zoo - the animals had already been removed.
Franklin Park was founded as the West Roxbury park, named for the corner of the short-lived town that had just been annexed by the city of Boston. The park was designed by Fredrick Law Olmsted, who had no interest in zoos. As repeatedly happened, the people of Boston had other ideas, and were happy when a zoo was added to the park. Generations of Bostonians came to the zoo and left with fond memories. Sadly, the city, and then the state, loved the zoo far less, and it was probably never funded properly from the start. It gradually fell into decrepitude, until, an eyesore loved by no one, the original animal houses were torn down and replaced by a new facility.
I was informed in the comment section of the original post that they tried to save that elephant head during demolition, but dropped it and smashed the trunk into many pieces.
Inside of the elephant house.
I remember standing right at that near corner, staring in at a big cat. Probably fifty years ago now - ouch!
Inside the big cat house.
Looks like ruins of an ancient civilization.
Not very homey.
Once there would have been children running about, squealing joyously. Between the lack of people and the low-contrast B&W printing, this looks like on of those end-of-the-world sci-fi movie settings.