While the Bear Dens in Long Crouch Woods don’t house bears anymore, there are still beautiful stone carvings of bears and a broad staircase leading up to a pavilion and the old cages. The site was one of the first Zoo exhibits when it opened in 1912. The frieze has the city seal and the 1912 Boston skyline with the Custom House, the tallest building in Boston at the time.
You can read a detailed history of the site by Julie Arrison, FPC member, marathon team captain, park historian, and author of Images of America: Franklin Park.
Long Crouch Woods, which surrounds the Bear Dens, is a safe, fascinating place to walk. A 26-acre woodland that sits high above Seaver Street in Roxbury, this long, narrow forest has a broad path through the middle and smaller trails leading into the woods and down to Playstead Road and the park’s basketball courts by White Stadium. Volunteers have been clearing invasive Glossy Buckthorn trees for several years, creating a more hospitable environment for park users. In addition to the Bear Dens, you’ll find an old badger cage from early Zoo days and a view of the city skyline.