Thursday, August 30, 2012

Coming Soon!

Coming Soon to a mailbox near you. It's at the Printers right now.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Cage # 28

The Cap Curtis designed Corporation cages are a lengthy study for anyone trying to get a grasp of what cages went where. This two section cage was originally built in 1924 for the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus.

The cage on the right is shown here on the Sell-Floto Circus in 1932. Following these cages gets mind boggling after awhile. In trying to follow this cage, we are looking at primarily the two sections, the four carvings side by side on the center board at the bottom and the ribs on the front wall.

( You can double click the photo to enlarge it. )

Cage # 18

As you may recall, the Cole Bros. Circus suffered a terrible fire in Winter quarters in February of 1940. They bought this cag from the Peru winter quarters. Good thing too as most of the Peru equipment all went up in flames the very next year. Notice the ribs on the front. If I remember right, this is the only corporation cage with this distinguishing feature.

Cage # 18

This photo was taken on May 17, 1940 in Kokomo, Indiana when this was cage # 18.

Cage # 12

This is a Wm. Koford photo of the # 12 cage on the Cole Bros. Circus before being finally taken off the road and parked at the Paul Kelly Farm.

Cage # 12 - soon to be # 50

The cage was safely stored in the ring barn at the Paul Kelly farm for years. As you can see hear, the carvings were all gone and you'll want to notice the skyboard as well. When Paul and Dorothy kelly had their auction, this cage went to the International Circus Hall of Fame on the other side of town from the Kelly farm.

Cage # 50

Here is a good side view taken at the International Hall of Fame when we went out to see the Circus Model Builders Show on July 21, 2009. Please note the carvings in the center board aren't exactly following a historic nature in 2009.

Cage # 50

Here it is beautifully repainted and fixed up in downtown Peru, Indiana.This gives a real clear view of the front. When it's not downtown for the Circus week, it is at the International Circus Hall of Fame. If you noticed the previous photo's carvings, you'll see this is now upgraded to a really good restoration.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


This will brighten your morning! Hold on to your seats!


The Circus Historical Society is on FACEBOOK. You might not be a user and don't have to be to see the Facebook page.

Anyone can go to You'll see the page and any and all comments. You'll have to login to Facebook to make any comments however.

The CHS also has a group page with over 1000 members in the group that had some rather lively conversations the last couple days. You will need to be logged onto Facebook to see the group display.

There is another terrific source of circus history with some photos you may have never seen before. You'll discover the group at

OHIO's new law

From the Associated Press
Columbus, Ohio.

     Ohio officials want to build a state facility to temporarily house exotic animals seized under a new law that will soon take effect.

     A spokeswoman for the state's Department of Agriculture tells The Associated Press that the structure would contain dozens of cages for confiscated creatures, potentially ranging from snakes to bears.
     Erica Pitchford said Thursday the facility would be built at the agency's rural campus in Reynoldsburg, just outside of Columbus.
     A legislative committee would have to approve the building's funds. A price tag is still being calculated.
     A law that takes effect on Sept. 3 will restrict ownership and immediately ban people from buying new dangerous exotic animals.
     Efforts to regulate dangerous wildlife took on new urgency last fall, when a suicidal owner released dozens of exotic animals.

Perhaps I'm missing something but if you have a law going into effect on Sept. 3rd, don't you think the facility should have already been built?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

What's next?

I've been going in 27 different directions all day long. How about you?

Monday, August 20, 2012

My Website Store

As many of you know, I regularly sell on eBay. I also have my own website where I do place lots of items that aren't on eBay. One such item is this 1892 Libretto from the Barnum & Bailey pageant "Columbus and the Discovery of America."
 You can find my website at

Saturday, August 18, 2012

eBay Giving Works

eBay has become one of the leaders in Non-Profit giving over the last couple years by allowing Non-Profits to register to accept Donations and to have sellers and buyers donate in the process of their normal Transactions.

Since 2003, eBay users like you have raised $269,034,758 for 21,397 nonprofits. Throughout July 2012, eBay Giving Works users donated $564,968 to 4,617 nonprofits and our top nonprofit received $33,145.

You can now Buy, Sell or Donate to the CHS on eBay by going to our Non-Profit page at

You will see the difference when an auction is helping a Non-Profit in the body of the auction. Here is one I have on there now.

Model Builders Show in Madison, WI.

Johnny Ripp caught up to Circus Model Builder, Steve Flint, this past weekend at a Circus Model Builders show in Madison, Wisconsin. Here is history in the making as Steve has his entire Sparks Circus 1/2" scale model train set-up in it's entirety. Stretching "As Far as the Eye can See", his 16 flatcars, 6 stock cars and two engines stretch out forty feet ( times ) two seperate tracks.

You can double click the photo to see a larger image.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Gordon Taylor

I received an email from our good friend and colleague, Richard J. Reynolds III yesterday who informed us of the passing of Gordon Taylor on Saturday August 11th. Gordon was 77 years old. Many of you may remember that Ray Gronso and Gordon had just been to Baraboo for the CHS Convention. Gordon was delighted to see so many of his friends again be they old or new acquaintances.

Gordon did not want a funeral. He has been cremated and the ashes will be interred in Washington, Wilkes County, GA over near Augusta. Gordon has relatives buried there. He preferred that to New York where his parents are buried, though they lived in Asheville, NC when Gordon was growing up.

So, at some point in the future, Ray will hold a ceremony of Gordon's life at his house. I gather that will be several months away.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Two Hemispheres Bandwagon

When Barnum and Bailey decided to return from their European tour they envisioned being better than they already were and placed a whopping order for new parade vessels with the Sebastian Wagon Co. in New York. Here are a few notes on the subject:

Sebastian built the eight tableau cars ( Funny Folks, Golden Age of Chivalry, Egypt, Our Country, Fairy Tales, Phonecian Galley, Siam and Balkis ) plus 6 chariots for Barnum and Bailey in 1902 – Jan. 4, 1902 Minutes of the Barnum & Bailey Directors Meeting as told in the Affairs of James A. Bailey, by Richard E. Conover, page 8.

The 1901-1902 Barnum and Bailey ledger shows the “Parade Chariots” as having a $5000.00 payment on the signing of the contract, $5000.00 to be paid during May 1902. Both of these are logged in on April 27, 1902. The next $10,000.00 was due as work was in progress, with the final $20,000.00 due upon completion. The total for the twelve tableaus and six racing chariots being $40,000.00 The Two Hemispheres Bandwagon was an additional $4,200.00. - see Bandwagon, The Golden Age of Chivalry, Fred Dahlinger, Jr., March / April 1997, page 26.

This 1903 poster is part of the Tibbals collection at the John and Mabel Ringling Museum of Art.


Two Hemispheres Bandwagon

This photo was taken in 1909 in Fort Dodge, Iowa where the huge feature was the incomparable 40 horse hitch.

Two Hemispheres Bandwagon

This 1910 poster shows the wonders of the coming circus and its great street parade rarities. This poster is from the Tibbals collection at the John and Mabel Ringling Museum of Art.

Two Hemispheres Bandwagon

Here it is in the Granger, Iowa Winter Quarters of Fred Buchanan. This was taken in 1933 and is part of the M.D. McCarter collection.

Two Hemispheres Bandwagon

Here it is in the Granger, Iowa Winter Quarters of Fred Buchanan. This was taken in 1933 and is part of the M.D. McCarter collection.

Two Hemispheres Bandwagon

Here it is in the Granger, Iowa Winter Quarters of Fred Buchanan. This was taken in 1933 and is part of the M.D. McCarter collection.

Two Hemispheres Bandwagon.

The Cole Bros. Circus featured a magnificient Street Parade in the mid 1930s and took full advantage of the grand Bandwagon in their press corps. ( This poster is in the Tibbals collection at the John and Mabel Ringling Museum of Art. )

Two Hemispheres Bandwagon

After its circus days, it became privately owned. Here it is on display at the Iowa State Fair.

Two Hemispheres Bandwagon

A featured mainstay at the Circus hall of Fame in Sarasota, Florida for years, it became the property of John Zweifel when he bought the entire Museum. He still owns it today.

Two Hemispheres Bandwagon

Now on display at the Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin inside the Deppe wagon building.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Fred Buchanan winter quarters

Fred Buchanan had been a circus owner for many years. He had the Yankee Robinson show out from 1906 till 1920. He got out of the ownership end for a couple years only to come back out with his World Bros. Circus in 1923. He then changed the title to Robbins Bros. in 1924 and remained out through 1931. As in most cases, the show was broke. Wm. P.. Hall had a lien against most of the show and the Robbins Bros. train rolled into Lancaster, MO to the Hall farm.

Several of the grand parade wagons from years past however were not on the road in 1931 and as a result, they weren't on the train that went to Lancaster. Manny Gunn was fortunate enough to have visited the Granger, Iowa winter quarters in November of 1936 when he took a boat load of photos from the abandoned quarters. Here are a few from over the years. All of the photos from 1936 are some of the Manny Gunn photos.

Fred Buchanan winter quarters

This was taken in 1936.

Fred Buchanan winter quarters

This was taken in 1936.

Fred Buchanan winter quarters

Here is what was left of the Santa Claus float from the Barnum & Bailey series. This was taken in 1936.

Fred Buchanan winter quarters

This was taken in 1936.

Fred Buchanan winter quarters

Joe Rettinger found this old wagon still on the Buchanan property in 1969.

Fred Buchanan winter quarters

Joe Rettinger found this wagon still sitting at the old Buchanan property in 1969 when he took this picture. 

Fred Buchanan winter quarters

There wasn't much left to work with.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Bandwagon 1991 Special

The Circus Historical Society will be offering a huge special on some past editions of the Bandwagon. Each and every special will only be good for two months. The 1990 special has now ended.

We are making the second offering for the entire six issues of 1991. These issues are covered in detail on our website under the Bandwagon Magazine tab, indexes of Bandwagon Articles, then to 1957 to 1999.

These issues are filled with great circus history as authored by Bill Johnston, Joseph Bradbury, Gordon Carver, Orin C. King, John Polacsek, Fred D. Pfening Jr. Mark St. Leon, Stuart Thayer, Ward Hall and more.

Maybe you haven’t been in the CHS for 20 years and would love to read lots more about the circus or maybe you’re looking for that perfect gift already, but you can’t pass up a deal like this.


Includes the shipping in the US!

Make your check payable to the C.H.S. and mail it to: Bandwagon Special - 1991, 1075 W. Fifth Ave., Columbus, Ohio 43212 or you can use PayPal on our website at

Wednesday, August 01, 2012


1890 was only the third year the title of Barnum & Bailey was in use. They created a performance that was pure pagentry at it's finest that they called NERO. Their 20 page program consisted of the beautiful foldout shown below, a couple pages of the deigners and dept. heads, then the rest of the program tells all about NERO. Quite an unusual display by today's standards but was grand enough to be packing folks into a 10,000 seat arena.

Having held it in my hands and actually seen it, all I can say is WOW!


This is the Back cover.


This is the beautiful foldout inside the front cover of the Program. It amounts to 4 1/2 pages.