No. 499
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
November 26, 2020

Floating Circus.

Spaulding & Rogers’s Floating Circus Palace.
April 11, 2016
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"York Dispatch," November 28, 1905.  (All clippings via Newspapers.com) When normal people think of Thanksgiving, they picture large family dinners, a relaxing day watching football in front of the TV, a general atmosphere of comfort and contentment.Me, I picture turkeys being used as lethal weapons and guided missiles.  The "Passaic Herald-News," November 23, 1956:This inventive lady celebrated
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Strange Company - 11/25/2020

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A CHAMPIONSan Francisco ChronicleOctober 12, 1898(Click image to enlarge)     ASCOMB IS A CHAMPION    Guess Bascomb Smith wasn't all bad. The texts of the newspaper appear below.  Miss Hall finds a champion. Brother of  “ Soapy” Smith claims her as his wife.There is another side to the pathetic story told to the police by Minnie Hall, the Vaudeville actress to jump into the bay from Howard
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 9/25/2020

It’s been a good century or so since New Yorkers celebrated Evacuation Day. But in the late 18th and 19th centuries, this holiday—on November 25—was a major deal, marked by festive dinners, parades, and a deep appreciation of the role the city played in the Revolutionary War. Evacuation Day honors the day in 1783 when […]
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Ephemeral New York - 11/23/2020
Colorization can sometimes add another whole dimension to vintage black and white photos. We’ve done this one of the crime …

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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 8/31/2020
 Old Cap. Collier, the fictional dime novel detective, tries his hand at solving the murder of Dr. Cronin.The real murder of Dr. Patrick Henry Cronin was stranger than fiction, with the good doctor found naked and dead in a Chicago sewer after confronting the corrupt leaders of an Irish secret society. As Edmund Pearson said, “It was one of those murders over which men nod their heads and look
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Murder By Gaslight - 11/21/2020

Youth With Executioner by Nuremberg native Albrecht Dürer … although it’s dated to 1493, which was during a period of several years when Dürer worked abroad. November 13 [1617]. Burnt alive here a miller of Manberna, who however was lately engaged as a carrier of wine, because he and his brother, with the help of […]
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Executed Today - 11/13/2020
[Editor’s note: Guest writer, Peter Dickson, lives in West Sussex, England and has been working with microfilm copies of The Duncan Campbell Papers from the State Library of NSW, Sydney, Australia. The following are some of his analyses of what he has discovered from reading these papers. Dickson has contributed many transcriptions to the Jamaica Family […]
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Early American Crime - 2/7/2019
Gambler Vs. Cook. | Killed by a Baseball.

Floating Circus.

Floating Circus

The pictures which we give herewith is an accurate representation of what is called the Floating Palace, as it lately appeared at Mobile, Ala. It was built for the purpose of equestrian exhibitions, and it has been improved at the Levee in New Orleans, and at various places on the Mississippi River, during some length of time.

It was rather a novel idea to construct a curious ship—a regular moveable theatre; but it is said to have succeeded far beyond the expectations of its owners. It is not a sham built affair, but it is really very finely fitted, and perfect in every respect. The interior is a most commodious amphitheatre.

The “dress-circle,” as it is termed, consists of eleven hundred cane bottom arm-chairs, each numbered to correspond with the ticket issued.

The “family-circle,” comprises cushioned settees for some five hundred persons, while the residue of the accommodations are comprised in nine hundred gallery seats. The amphitheatre is warmed by means of hot water pipes or steam, and altogether it is an exceedingly comfortable and pleasurable exhibition-room. The interior is lighted bye over a hundred brilliant gas jets, forming a great ornament in their construction, and supplied by a gas apparatus on board—this furnishes the entire light for the vestibule, the halls, offices, saloons, green rooms, dressing-rooms and the stable. A chime of bells is attached to the structure, and discourses most eloquent music previous to each performance, while Drummond-lights render the neighborhood of the floating palace brilliant during the exhibition. Every deception to delude the visitor into the idea that he is in a spacious theatre in shore is used, and it is difficult to realize that one is on the water during the performance. The whole is improved by Spalding & Rogers’s united circus companies. Taken altogether it is a most curious, original and interesting affair, and we have therefore selected it as something that would interest our readers. It is now in active operation in the waters of Alabama, and attracts as many visitors to see the structure itself, as to witness the excellent performances that are conducted within its walls by the enterprising managers.

 


Reprinted from Gleason's Pictorial Drawing-Room Companion, February 19,1853.