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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

 
Four communities have a good elephant tale
written by Kirk Mariner
from: delmarvanow.com
September 5, 2012
A ferry crossing the Chesapeake turns back to port and does not reach its destination because one of its passengers gets seasick -- an unlikely event?
Not if the seasick passenger were an elephant!
It actually happened back in 1934. Not on the ferry, the one remembered fondly by people of a certain age, the one that was replaced by the Bridge-Tunnel, but on the shortlived Harborton-Deltaville ferry. The Richmond-Eastern Shore Ferry Corporation inaugurated service between those two points, two crossings a day, beginning in August 1933. The business folded after its only vessel Chelsea went aground in a fog near Deltaville in December 1934.
Shortly before its demise, in mid-October 1934, the ferry started out from Harborton carrying among its passengers a small "circus" that had recently been playing on the Eastern Shore.
Shortly before its demise, in mid-October 1934, the ferry started out from Harborton carrying among its passengers a small "circus" that had recently been playing on the Eastern Shore.
Not long into the voyage the circus elephant got sick, and began "charging around" so wildly that the ferry had to turn back to Harborton and unload its passengers.
The next day it set out again, once again carrying the circus, and this time it successfully negotiated the voyage "without additional mal de mer afflicting the elephant."
So, at least, goes the story. In fact the documentation for this event is a bit shaky: a single brief mention in an article in a Richmond newspaper. No other sources mention the seasick elephant. No Eastern Shore papers mention any "circus" playing the communities of the peninsula in September or October 1934.
So, at least, goes the story. In fact the documentation for this event is a bit shaky: a single brief mention in an article in a Richmond newspaper. No other sources mention the seasick elephant. No Eastern Shore papers mention any "circus" playing the communities of the peninsula in September or October 1934.
Not only that, it is known that from Oct. 14 through Oct. 28 of that year (which includes the time of the elephant's seasickness) the spacious ferry Chelsea was in drydock in Norfolk for repairs, and substituting for it was the venerable old steamer Eastern Shore, which could not carry trucks over 6 feet 6 inches high. So if the circus traveled by truck, it must have used small trucks indeed.
It is, however, a fact that the Eastern Shore of Virginia played host to a number of traveling shows back in the 1930s. Hardly large enough to qualify for being a "circus," they were often even too small to advertise in the newspapers, yet sometimes traveled with an elephant.
read more:
http://www.delmarvanow.com/article/20120905/ESN01/209050350/Four-communities-good-elephant-tale?odyssey=mod%7Cnewswell%7Ctext%7CEastern%20Shore%20News%7Cs

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