The Los Angeles Zoo (not to be confused with the Selig Zoo, more on that another time) was founded in Griffith Park Canyon in 1912, and had a menagerie of only fifteen animals on opening day. Many of its enclosures were upgraded in the 1930s by Works Progress Administration crews, though they would be considered cruel and inadequate by today’s standards. The zoo was moved in 1965 to the former site of the Rodger Young Village, a temporary community built to accommodate veterans returning from World War Two. It continues to operate there today.
The former zoo was left behind as an example of WPA civil engineering, and as a reminder of an unsophisticated attitude toward the treatment of animals. It’s a strangely beautiful place.