1875 : P. T. Barnum’s Great Roman Hippodrome Tours Michigan

When:
July 1, 2018 all-day
2018-07-01T00:00:00-04:00
2018-07-02T00:00:00-04:00
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Phineas Taylor Barnum (July 5, 1810 – April 7, 1891) was an American showman, businessman, scam artist and entertainer, remembered for promoting celebrated hoaxes and for founding the circus that became the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

During the summer of 1875, P. T. Barnum’s Great Roman Hippodrome toured Michigan ( July 1 Adrian, July 2, Jackson, July 3, Lansing, July 5, Grand Rapids, and July 6, Kalamazoo ) as part of a great midwestern tour.

According to an advertisement in the Grand Rapids Eagle (July 4, 1875) the circus extravaganza featured a historical and traditional revelation of the past thousand years, including an army of men, women, and children; hundreds of thoroughbred and imported horses; a long glittering line of gilt and silver besprinkled chariots and tableau cars; countless suits of burnish silver and jeweled armor. Also featured were elephant and camel races, an English stag hunt with 300 horse riders and 52 hounds. Music would be provided by Professor Harmon’s Silver Cornet and Reed Band of 50 musicians, the largest traveling music organization ever completed. Plus the flight of the balloon P. T. Barnum, carrying Washington H. Donaldson and various local reporters.

Sources :

Stuart Thayer and William L. Slout, Grand Entree, The Birth of the Greatest Show on Earth, 1870-75, 1998

Gordon G. Beld, The Early Days of Aviation in Grand Rapids. Charleston, S.C. : History Press, 2012.

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