Marker 128: Delavan's Circus Colony

© Photographed July 20, 2015
Erected 1990 by Delavan Historic Preservation Society
Delavan, Walworth County, Wisconsin
In 1847 two New York brothers, Edmund and Jeremiah Mabie, toured Wisconsin with their United States Olympic Circus. The circus stopped over in Delavan and the brothers took time off to hunt prairie chicken near Delavan Lake. They liked the area so well that they purchased 400 acres of land and established winter-quarters for the circus here.

Because this circus was the largest and most profitable in existence, circus performers and other show personnel flocked to Delavan. Twenty-six circuses winter-quartered here between 1847 and 1894, including Harry Buckley’s National Circus and Roman Hippodrome, W.C. Coup-Dan Castello’s Egyptian Caravan, Holland and McMahon World’s Circus. The colorful days of the circus era in Delavan ended with the E.G. Holland & Co. Railroad Shows.

In 1871 the idea for forming the P.T.Barnum Circus was developed in Delavan by W.C. Coup, who also was first to put a large circus on rails and introduced the second and third ring to the performance. Delavan reached its peak as a “circus town” during the 1870’s. About seventy members of the “circus colony” are buried in Spring Grove and St. Andrew’s cemeteries.
The marker is located at Tower Park on westbound East Walworth Avenue / County Highway O / Wisconsin Highway 11, at its intersection with South 4th Street, Delavan, Wisconsin 53115.

Olympians of the Sawdust Circle: Mabie Brothers

Delavan Lake Area Chamber of Commerce: History

City of Delavan: History of Delavan, WI

Wikipedia: Delavan, Wisconsin

City of Delavan: History

The marker is next to the giraffe.

The marker to the left of the water tower, next to the giraffe
(visible to the far left).

The marker was originally at this Horton Park location,
adjacent to Turtle Creek.
© Photographed August 13, 2013
Erected 1963 by Wisconsin State Historical Society
Delavan, Walworth County, Wisconsin
42° 38′ N, 88° 39.24′ W
Google Map
The marker is located in Delavan, Wisconsin.

1 comment:

Joanne Mason said...

Thank your for posting this. Jeremiah and Edmund Mabie are ancestors of mine and I'm working on my family tree. So nice to see this marker!

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