Granite Bullfrog by Unknown

Como FrogFrog statueFrog PondFrog Pond and Conservatory

The Frog Pond in Como Park is named for a small granite bullfrog that sits on a concrete slab in the middle of the pond. But the history of the sculpture is a little murky. As near as we can tell, the frog was created by an unknown artist in Japan in 1923.

The Como Park web site tells us this:

“Shortly after the World’s Fair in St. Louis, architect Stchikawa designed a Japanese Imperial garden in Como Park. The only remaining vestige is this large granite bull frog.”

The St. Louis World’s Fair was in 1904 and that’s the same year Dr. Rudolph Schiffman donated trees and shrubs for a Japanese garden in Como Park. But that description is misleading as the frog was not an original component of the garden. Historic signs in Como Park’s Street Car Station tell us that the large granite frog “dates to 1923,” a date corroborated by the book Monumental Minnesota which also tells us the frog was a gift of Fred Crosby.

Fred Crosby was the son of Oliver Crosby (no connection to Crosby Farm Park), a wealthy businessman who built a sprawling estate overlooking the Mississippi River called Stonebridge. Oliver Crosby died in 1922. According to an article in Ramsey County History, the Crosby family brought the frog back from Japan and displayed it on the front lawn of their Stonebridge mansion.

Jewel of Como tells us that Frederick Crosby donated the frog to Como Park in 1927.

So the history is a little muddled. It’s unclear if the frog was actually part of the original 1904 Japanese Garden (even if it was a later addition) or if it went straight to the Frog Pond bearing its name.

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