Sunday, 30 August 2015

1884-09-10a Circus Comes to Town (Prt 1)

The ad in the local papers was a huge one, containing lots of verbal details and a large illustration.

Taken out by Adam Forepaugh, sole proprietor of a large circus, the ad which appeared on September 10, 1884, announced that “the old, reliable, solid, stately, substantial and stupendous Great Forepaugh Show had again crossed the border into Canada.”

Boldly claiming that it was “the largest tented exhibition in the world,” the Forepaugh Show was scheduled to be in Hamilton the very next day, setting up operations at the corner of Hannah (now Charlton) and Locke streets.

The ad proclaimed that, among many other attractions, the circus would feature “Mamelukes and Moors, Sultan’s Own Children of the Desert” with “30 followers of Mohamed, 30 Children of the Desert, 30 True Believers in the Koran, 30 Desert-Born Heroes, and 30 Sunburned Sons of Sahara.” Each of those people would perform in the “Peerless Plural 3-Ring Circus” accompanied by a “Full Arab Band of Musicians, and a quarter of a 100 Elephants.”

There would also be a half-mile race track set up at the circus, featuring races of many styles including an elephant race.

Elephants were a major part of the Forepaugh show.

The ad boasted that there would be a “Massive, Marvellous Band of Mastodons; elephants acting as clowns,  elephants playing the organ, elephants beating the drum, elephants striking the cymbal, elephants playing the xylophone, elephants playing the trombone.”

The star elephant of Forepaugh’s Show of 1884 was the subject of the illustration :

“Presenting for the first time here, and in the New World, the first, and only genuine, royally sacred Siamese WHITE ELEPHANT, endorsed by Scientists everywhere, by the Press, the Public and the entire Siamese Embassy.”

The ad concluded by concluded by announcing that there would be two performances, one in the afternoon and one in the evening” preceeded by “a superlatively magnificent parade”

The street procession would include four great bands playing the “popular music of the day, more than a quarter of a 100 Marching Elephants, sun-bright golden chariots, wide-opened dens of savage monsters, a Gay retinue of Cavaliers and Ladies, hundreds of handsome horses, a tribe of Mamelukes and Moors and a pageant in which all the nations of the world would be represented.

“The column will start from the Exhibition Grounds at about 10 a.m., weather permitting. All owners or drivers of vehicles are requested to secure their horses along the route the procession passes.”

Early in the day, September 10, 1884, Mr. H. Samon “business representative of Mr. Forepaugh,” appeared at the offices of both the Times and the Spectator, and requested of each, that the following be published:

“The procession will leave the show grounds, corner of Hannah and Locke streets, at 10 o’clock; move to Queen, thence to King, and down that street to MacNab; down MacNab to Vine; it will turn onto Gore and to Catharine; up Catharine to King along King to the show grounds. Of course, the cut up condition of Hamilton’s streets at the present time considerably curtails the route of the procession.”

(To be Continued)

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