Last of a three-part series on the Walter L. Main Circus.
Despite the devastating loss in the Tyrone, Pa., train wreck of May 30, 1893, Walter L. Main quickly rebuilt his circus and kept virtually all of its engagements beyond Tyrone.
Main’s 1893 season was to close at Conneaut on Oct. 14, but the show was canceled due to “high water” on the performance site. The circus was shipped to its headquarters in Geneva, and the great showman commenced making purchases for the next season.
The winter of 1893-94 was the first that Main stored his circus at his new buildings on what became known as Walter Main Road. On the west side of Geneva, the rural location was ideally situated between two east-west rail lines, which provided handy access for getting his show on and off the road.
The 1894 circus was stocked with an amazing variety of both featured and sideshow acts. Audiences could thrill to Nellie Ryland, the red-headed girl who rode a white horse, Joe Beris’ six performing Arabian stallions, a performing goat named Dick and a celebrated riding dog, Trask. In the sideshows, there was Amie the human fly, a rooster orchestra and a (living) two-head cow. The parade featured open animal dens, Arabs and an Indian band that did a war dance.
The Official Programme of the 1894 circus provides insight into not only what the audiences could expect, but the degree of advertising hype that built that expectation:
“Grand Tournament of Wild and Civilized Peoples. A Babel of humanity; all nations marching under the flags. A many-hued and glittering grand spectacle, unfolding in arenic and scenic splendor on all the rings and stages, and around the entire area of the enormous amphitheatrical hippodrome course. At beat of drums and blare of band and bugle, a tremendous outpouring and outspreading of a vast bannered army and motley throng of mailed marching warriors, gladiators, charioteers, steel-clad knights, royal grandees, mounted cavaliers and ladies, helmeted spearmen, pontifical high priests and wandering Jews, turbaned Arabs on camels, Moors and Mamelukes, Grand Turks, Bedouins of the desert, outlaws, booted and spurred, wild west and wilder east, chariots of conquest, huge herds of swaying elephants, wild beasts, runners, couriers, guards of honor, postillions, out-riders, etc. Magnificent ostentation. The flash of sword and helmet, spear and shield, the glory of the pilgrimage to Mecca ...” And that’s just part of the first paragraph.
Tragedy struck Walter L. Main’s Circus at its home base of Geneva in 1906
Nativity exhibit to open in Kirtland
Volunteers are still busy putting up more than 600 Nativity scenes for the nationally acclaimed exhibit at Historic Kirtland in preparation for the formal opening on Friday. A lighting celebration and musical program will begin 6 p.m. Friday. Nativity sets representing countries and cultures from around the world will fill the Visitors Center and the one-room schoolhouse located next to the center. The theme of the 11th annual exhibit is “Unto Us A Son Is Given.” Admission is free and open to the public. Historic Kirtland is located at 7800 Kirtland-Chardon Road, just off Route 306 south of I-90.
Odd Tales of Ashtabula County
Twins were pretty rare in Williamsfield Township, so when Correne Cutlip delivered twin girls on April 22, 1939, her husband, Bob, started calling neighbors and relatives with the good news and a plea for help: they would need twice as much of everything.
Guilty of treason!
She was a lonely child, precocious, some said; others said she was simply aloof. Two things for certain, she was beautiful — neighbors often remarked on her black curls — and odd, especially by the standards that existed in Conneaut in 1916.
Those 10 Calaway girls
In an era when many couples are happy to dote on just one offspring and most U.S. McMansions have at least 2.5 bathrooms, the story of the Calaway sisters is amazing.
The music got him 'All stirred up inside
Floyd Hewitt loved to listen to the radio, especially that cool jazzy music that got him “all stirred up inside.”
The romantic bachelor
The brass plate is partially obscured by the July grass that grows about the stone substrate.
Second of a two-part series on the Big Blow of November 1913
Launching an industry
Shortly after midnight on Sept. 26, 1941, German U- boat No. 203 fired four torpedoes into convoy HG-73 north of the Azores.
Ransom for an attorney’s little boy
Tony Muscarelli, 13, and Willie Madden, 12, were walking down Depot Street, Ashtabula, on the evening of March 20, 1909, when a 30-year-old man accosted them from across the street.
Kelsey’s Run rambles through the flatlands of Conneaut Township Park, carving graceful curves in the grassy area just north of Lake Road and slipping quietly under the two stone bridges in its final stretch toward Lake Erie.
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- Nativity exhibit to open in Kirtland