Grant Park Carvings


In the 1930’s Civilian Conservation Corps, (CCC), members carved 40 some faces into the pillars of a pavilion in Grant Park, South Milwaukee

Grant Park Carvings

As a child my family’s favorite picnic site in Grant Park was near ravines containing wooden bridges built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Another structure built at the same time was a pavilion, which provided shelter from rain or the hot sun. This pavilion had always been a favorite cool spot during the hot afternoons. On the support beams for the roof of this pavilion are carvings of faces. After many picnics at this site I had grown quite fond of these carvings. In my imagination they were the faces of picnickers who dined, danced and reveled under the pavilion roof during countless weekends and holidays. The faces seemed to inhabit and haunt the pavilion. Even while alone under the roof I always felt I had company.

It’s with much affection for these sometimes grotesque carvings, that I photographed them this summer. While taking these pictures a hiker struck up a conversation with me.

He told me that a Finnish immigrant who was working with the CCC at the Grant Park site did the carvings.

A touch of Finland on the shores of Lake Michigan is a pleasant thought.

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Copyright  ©  2007 by Jim Brozek

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