The Brookfield Zoo Map Shortly After Its Opening.
A decorative early map of the Brookfield Zoo. The zoo extends to much the same size that it does today, though it is much less densely built up. The map is designed in an attractive pictorial style, with many animals, trees, and visitors all shown. The locations of attractions and exhibits are included. Four monkeys point in the four cardinal directions, acting as a compass rose.
The layout of the zoo has changed little since the creation of this map, although some individual features have been altered. Perhaps most obvious is the lack of the Roosevelt Fountain in the central circle of the park, this would be built in the 1950s. Other changes to the present park include the building of a carousel, the changing shape of Swan Lake, and the introduction of many new exhibits.
The zoo was built on land donated by Edith Rockefeller McCormick in 1919 to the Cook County Forest Preserve. Construction started in 1926 when a zoo tax was passed, and slowed during the start of the Depression. The zoo eventually opened on July 1, 1934, and by September of that year, over one million people had already visited the zoo. The Brookfield Zoo has always been at the forefront of American zookeeping; this zoo pioneered the use of moats rather than cages, as already seen on the map, and would become the first zoo in the United States to host pandas.