Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Bandwagon--Cole Bros. 1939

Is this wagon pictured above in 1939, which I don't ever recall seeing, the one mentioned below as the "Great Britain" in this account from the Circus Historical Society:

History of the Cole Bros. Circus 1935-40
Part XIII, The 1940 Season

On the early evening of Feb. 20, 1940 a major disaster struck the show when fire destroyed the greater portion of the winter quarters. The loss was not total as the large wagon shed at rear of the quarters as well as the wardrobe and canvas barn and the small two story office building were saved but the main series of buildings, the old bridge company foundry plus the additions made to it by the show was a complete loss. This area had housed the blacksmith, carpenter, and paint shops for both wagons and the train. Also kept in these buildings were the elephants and caged animals.

No official list of wagons and equipment lost in the fire has ever been published. The Billboard account lists general losses in way of equipment and other stories were a little more detailed. From many reports of eyewitnesses and by process of elimination we can put together a fairly accurate list. The parade equipment was the biggest lost in way of wagons. Destroyed were the United States, Great Britain, Africa (also called India or Hippo), Belgium, Corner statue tableau (former Christy air calliope) the new steam calliope built a year ago, and the Palm Tree tableau wagons. All of these wagons had appeared in the 1939 street parade and we can assume would have again been present in the 1940 parade.

By Joseph T. Bradbury. Bandwagon, Vol. 11, No. 5 (Sep-Oct), 1967, pp. 16-30


Anonymous said...

Yes, this is the Great Britain mentioned in the artcle- NOT to be confused with the Great Britain wagon at CWM in Baraboo. This wagon was originally built on a truck (Kelly-Springfirld) chassis for the Frank Spellman US Motorized Circus. After closing the bodies and trucks were repossessed and split. The bodies were built into wagons and ended up with Buchanan. After that some were picked up by Adkins/Terrell for use on thier Cole and Robbins outfits. The survivor of the Rochester WQ's fire was the France wagon, which is at CWM Baraboo.

Wade G. Burck said...

Thank you. Why do the call the wagon at CWM the "Great Britain" as well as this gone wagon. They should change the name of the existing one, as it leads to a lot of confusion for nitwits like myself. Can you see to that for me?