Posted by: Cornwall Community Museum | February 22, 2017

Photograph of the Week. Cornwall’s Elephant Parade.


Circus elephants parade through Cornwall, late 1800s.

…some young Cornwall lads learned that the circus was going to pass through Cornwall in the middle of the night, depriving our citizens of the circus parade parade.  The boys had learned that elephant enjoyed raw potatoes.  With this knowledge they set out to thwart the circus master’s plans by scattering several bushels of small potatoes along the circus route to entice them to stay awhile.  The boys then hid in bushes to watch.

“About two a.m. the sound of wheels was heard as the cavalcade approached the sleeping town.  There was the elephant, striding majestically between several strings of wagons.  Suddenly he stopped, and began feeling about the road with his trunk.  He struck a potato.  The keeper did everything he could to get the beast moving, but the elephant began a slow zig-zag course along the road, fearful of missing one of his gastronomical treats.  A rosy tint eventually began to appear in the sky and still the cavalcade moved at a snails-pace while the star attraction did not miss a single potato.  The upshot was that the circus entered Cornwall long after day break” (Elinor Senior, pg. 194), and Cornwall was rewarded with a free circus show.”

Learn more about Cornwall’s relationship with elephants in Quarry Press’ new book THE LIVING RIVER – SECRETS OF THE ST. LAWRENCE, by Ian Bowering and Lor Pelton.

Available at the Cornwall Community Museum for $30.

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