the greatest show on earth
Who would have thought an elephant could weave its way into the psyche of an entire community? For everyone that knows a little or a lot about the Jumbo story - they have been touched. How can you not tear up when the story ends with Jumbo pulling his trainer in for a hug as he takes his last breath?
From Awesome Stories
Jumbo the Elephant was the star of P.T. Barnum's "Greatest Show on Earth" where, it is said, he brought in the largest crowds in the history of the circus.
Captured in Africa, Jumbo spent time in London - where he was greatly loved - until PT Barnum purchased him to star in his circus. Londoners were most distressed to see him leave, in 1882:
...The beast had been a pet with the children in the London Zoological Gardens ... It required two weeks to build a van-like cage for the journey by sea [aboard the Assyrian Monarch], and then keepers went to the zoo to lead Jumbo to the ship...
He strode along all right until the gate of the garden closed behind them and then lay down in the street. It was a pure case of elephantine obstinacy, and the animal wouldn't budge.
There he measured his length in the dust for twenty-four hours despite all urging and entreaty, to the despair of his custodians, who little realized the wonderful effect the incident would have on the owner's pocketbook.
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Visit the site of Jumbo's death and see the historic plaque. Find the location on the west side of Woodworth Ave just north of the railway tracks.
Address approximately at 105 Woodworth Ave.
The following are available in the St. Thomas library: