Petition to repair Darrow bridge in circulation

Staff Writer

The Jackson Park Advisory Council will be collecting signatures soon to repair the Clarence Darrow Bridge.

The bridge, located at the north entrance to Wooded Island, is the closest entrance to the Japanese Garden from the parking lot.

Since late last year, the Darrow Bridge, named for Hyde Parker and early American Civil Liberties Union supporter Clarence Darrow, has been closed to pedestrians. It has been in a state of decay for decades, said JPAC president Louise McCurry.

Visitors to Jackson Park who may be disabled, elderly or have young children in strollers are unable to park their cars and easily walk to Wooded Island or Osaka Gardens with the bridge closed.

It has been closed to vehicles since 2005, making it inaccessible to police and other emergency vehicles.

The Darrow Bridge was first constructed the 1870s to allow wagons led by horses to pass. It was rebuilt in preparation for the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and again in 1906. It has not seen substantial renovations in decades, McCurry said.

Darrow, known as the “Attorney for the Damned,” defended University of Chicago students Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb when, in 1924, they murdered Robert Franks.

Those interested in signing a petition or more information should visit

In related news, the Jackson Park Advisory Council will hold a renaming ceremony for the Nancy Hays Bridge on March 16 at 2 p.m.

Hays was a Hyde Parker, Herald photographer and founding member of JPAC and Friends of the Park. She was known for her activism and commitment to children and nature. She died in 2007.