Sunday, August 01, 2010

Circusgoing in Santa Rosa, 1869 on Rails from the East ...

(A circus comes to nearby Petaluma, circa 1900)

From Gaye LeBaron's "Insight" column in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, March 14, 1982:

Dan Costello, another clown who had traveled with the great P.T. Barnum, brought to Santa Rosa his Circus and Menagerie "Overland from the Atlantic to the Pacific!" in August,1869 ... bringing together "all under one roof and one price of admission" wild animals including "the first hart-beast ever exhibited," Dan Costello himself and his "educated equines," the acrobatic Victorella Brothers from circus rings of Paris and London, and a Brazilian family of bareback riders.

Reported an editor in the Press Democrat, the show "was an immense sensation to these parts. It seemed as if the people of all the surrounding country -- old and young, big and little -- had turned out en masse. Our town literally swarmed with strangers. Two performances, afternoon and night, were given to vast audiences."


Indeed, that was the first circus to travel out to the west coast by train, the journey beginning only 16 days after the historic joining of rails from east to west in Promontory, Utah. The Golden State tour opened in Truckee on July 17, concluded down in Redwood City on October 21.

Within two years, the pioneering Costello, joined with two other giants, William Coup and P.T. Barnum, launched a blazing new show that would soon turn to two rings, and ten years later, to three. The great American Circus Century had dawned.

1 comment:

Mark A. said...

I found an 1866 newspaper ad for Don Costello and his show.