From the Tibbals Digital Collection/ Ringling Collection.
This poster would have been distributed in the 1920s for James Patterson’s third and last version of his circus.
By DARRYL LEVINGS The Kansas City Star
April 19, 2013
It was about this time of year that the elephants began their migration out of Paola.
The “thunderous herd,” perhaps of Modoc, Daisy, Queen, Pinto and Jumbo, of course, might head south to Texas. One year they did quite well up in Canada.
A few times, Lotus the hippo waddled along, too, with the camels and trained ponies, dogs and monkeys.
Oh, this was back in the heyday of traveling shows, when “Patterson’s Big 4-Ring Wild Animal Circus” wintered just outside the prosperous little Kansas burg fed by the Katy, Frisco and MoPac rail lines.
This was before the Great Depression, even before the Great War, when a circus locomotive bleeding steam on a local railroad siding ranked up there for excitement with the mercantile burning down or a twister hitting the tent revival.
All the kids and the loafers would go down to the station to watch the sweating workers called razorbacks unload the gaudy and gilded wagons off the flatcars. And before you knew it, a parade was heading down Main Street toward the fairgrounds
White horses might draw the mirrored bandwagon first, and then came the big cats in their cages, elephants, pancake-faced clowns, women in tights, camels, a whole herd of trick ponies, maybe monkeys, barking dogs and the good Lord knows what else the show had that year, all with the steam calliope tooting and dooting away in the rear, signaling that the parade was over and it was time for kids to run home and beg the parents for money.
Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/04/19/4187393/circus-past-history-present-in.html#storylink=cpy