1863 : Circus Hippopotamus Jumps Off Boat Into Detroit River

June 22, 2018 all-day

A circus hippopotamus, being shipped from Buffalo to Detroit aboard the steamber SD Caldwell, broke out of his cage and dived into the Detroit River about 6 miles south of town. Ali, the Egyptian, the hippopatumus’s keeper, unleashed a large black mastiff, the hippopotamus’s companion, who dived into the river after him, and eventually led him to shore. Ali followed in a boat and was able to secure the hippopotamus on the American shore so they could proceed to Detroit. The unknown reporter states the hippopotamus was in fine condition after his frolic!

“A Novel Scene”, Detroit Free Press, June 23, 1863, column two.

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