the circus came to town
Here are community memories to share in Chronicle for fun.
While exchanging emails with many of the Reed family, we recall the Circus (Ringling Bros. Circus ending after 140 yrs) and Carnival that came to town many years ago and thought it might be fun to share and maybe get some others to write about their memories of the Circus, Carnival and other big events that came to Cottonwood.
Here are some reflections:
I DO remember the circus - but more likely in the 1940's or early 1950's. The tent was set up where the Omoksee arena is now. In those years it was a Ball Diamond where a Community Team played ball on Sunday. I remember the Wimer boys (Bob, maybe Greg, Maurice, Rupe etc. playing). Regarding the circus: I vaguely remember an elephant but the most exciting event to me was seeing a man balancing a chair on stemmed drink glasses. Too funny - I was very young and that left a bigger impression than the animals. I vaguely remember a circus parade up Main Street. In 1980 our truck broke down in a very small town in Mexico and we were there for 3 days. The excitement of that little village (and us) was a small circus parade entering on their Main Street - so that might be influencing the Cottonwood parade memories. Any of you remembering any of the Cottonwood circus? Suddenly tAhe vision of trapeze also just entered my little head - so that's another memory. The carnival rides on Main Street were marvelous - taking over the whole corner where the Fire Station is! A silver dollar could keep us busy All Day! I'm afraid the kids of today can't even have one ride for $1.00! And Dave, as a clown - pulling his bunnies in a cage down Main Street! And the big parades on Main Street; and I think the 4-H animals were at the location where Mager's building is now - across from the Grange.
I loved the circus. I seem to remember they came in on the train and then paraded up to the "ball diamond". What fun. The elephants were wonderful. I also remember the Idaho County Fair being downtown. All the carnival rides in the street, the night parade, the benches along the sidewalk downtown and lots of adults sitting around and talking. The sidewalks were always full of people. I also remember going into the Turner Drugs soda counter and going in to get a cold drink. The year I started high school was the last year the fair was downtown. I never really liked going to the fair after it moved, it was just never the same.
I do remember the circus at the ball field on the hill next to the cell tower where they were set up. I remember petting an elephant and seeing a camel. We didn't get to go to the circus show, as I recall, because it cost too much, so must have been mid to late 50's. Dad, Lee Rehder, played a lot of baseball on that Cottonwood diamond with the Wimer boys. I recall a huge carnival in the area around the gas station (now the Tire Guy); it was amazing for us little kids.?
Yes, there were elephants and a big top. I remember being around one time when they were putting up the big tent and it seemed like lots of "exotic" people had entered my world. I remember kind of by the entry was a seated "bearded lady" and another guy - I think a tattooed man (maybe a dwarf) and a fat lady... They called them "freaks". I remember a cage with an animal tamer with big cats growling at him, trapeze and clown. I think even a horse with rider standing up. All was really enlarging my world and then Peg and I set up trapeze type "acts" under the Cottonwoods on Grandma's lawn. Yes, fun memories!! I'm thinking around 1948 the first one I remember. We were very fortunate to have this in our childhood!!
Diane Kuther Wimer:
I too remember the circus tents, animal cages, sights, sounds, and smells of the “Greatest Show on Earth” sprawled out there where the old baseball diamond was located. Interesting what all we see and how little we actually remember from our early experiences. Not sure of the significance of this, but what sticks out in my mind was the sight of a huge snake in a glass covered container where a greasy looking circus guy went through some antics and then threw a live chicken into the cage; the snake clamped its jaws on the chicken and started swallowing it whole while the chicken kicked, squawked, flopped around and then disappeared inside the snake. That was horrifying to me, and I had dreams for weeks about slithering reptiles. Loved the carnivals and parades in downtown Cottonwood. Remember building floats with my folks and George and Ruth Kop. One year both Debbie Kuther and Debbie Kop got to ride on the float that we had all helped to build. Those were great memories!!
Somewhere there are photos of the Ringling Bros. taken when they came to Cottonwood circa 1945- 1955.