Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Hagenbeck-Wallace--"Five Graces" Band Wagon

1 comment:

Bob Cline said...

This wagon was originally built by the Fielding Bros. Wagon Company of New York in 1877 / 1878 for the Adam Forepaugh Circus. It was first known as the Car of Commerce parade tableau as there was a huge telescoping globe in the center that lowered into the wagon for travel.

In 1890, the Adam Forepaugh Circus was purchased by the Barnum & Bailey organization. The Adam Forepaugh Circus continued to operate through 1894. Some of the Adam Forepaugh show was then picked up by the Barnum & Bailey show including this wagon.

When Barnum & Bailey left for Europe in 1898 they took this wagon with them being pulled by the famed 40 horse hitch. It continued being used with the 40 through 1902 when they completed their season and returned to America.

The Massive Two Hemispheres Bandwagon was being built by the Sebastian Wagon Works with Sameul Robb being the head carver on this project. The Two Hemispheres bandwagon was going to be ready for their 1903 season and so the Five Graces was not used for the 40 horse hitch anymore although it continued to make the parade.

This wagon continued to be used through 1918 and then was on the combined Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey in 1919 and 1920. It then remained in storage at the Bridgeport WQ from 1921 to 1927 when it was hauled to the new Sarasota WQ. It remained there until 1933 when it was shipped up to Peru, IN. for the 1934 Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus parade.

It remained in storage at Peru from 1935 to 1942 when it was returned to Ringling / Barnum and was used in their specs in 1943, 1944 and 1945.

It then went into hibernation at the Sarasota WQ until 1949 when it was taken to the Museum of the American Circus in Sarasota. 70+ years later, that Museum is now called the John and Mabel Ringling Museums of Art and the wagon is commonly referred to now as the Five Graces Bandwagon.