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Tuesday, July 24, 2012


MARILYN HAGERTY: GF hosts Greatest Show on Earth in 1912
 The train that brought the Ringling Bros. Circus to Grand Forks 100 years ago was more than a mile long. It was the home of 1,280 men, women and children who spoke 29 different languages.
By: Marilyn Hagerty, Grand Forks Herald
July 24, 2012
The train that brought the Ringling Bros. Circus to Grand Forks 100 years ago was more than a mile long. It was the home of 1,280 men, women and children who spoke 29 different languages.
The train traveled in five sections with the first section carrying breakfast and a corps of 90 cooks, waiters and kitchen helpers, the Herald reported.
The second section brought the menagerie and horses. The third carried equipment including that of the new spectacle, “Joan of Arc.”
Then came the fourth section with 14 acres of canvass, rigging, poles, seats and shops. The performers, elephants and camels were on the last train.
In the forenoon, a parade passed through the streets. In it were camels, zebras, llamas, elephants and deer. And the circus gave two performances here on July 19, 1912.
In the zoo, there were 1,000 animals. In the stables, there were 650 horses. And in the dressing rooms, there were 315 performers.
Never before, the Herald said, had Ringling Brothers Circus offered such an attractive program.
At that time, Ringling Bros. had a remarkable family of giraffes. This animal was becoming a rarity, the Herald reported.
“Hunters have driven them so far into impenetrable jungles that only occasionally is one found.” That was why the animal was disappearing from city zoos.
The circus was described as one of a thousand wonders. Some 16,500 attended, the Herald reported. And the high trapeze performers were called the best ever in this city.

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