Friday, June 1, 2012

Circus Wagon History--Cole Bros. "America" Update

Cole Bros. circus wagon "America" sits on a flat bed truck, near a railroad yard, awaiting transport by the Shea-Matson Machinery Mover & Millwrights company. (Photo from Wade Burck's Circus "No Spin Zone" blog)

Question.... Could this be a photo of the wagon being transported to Baraboo?
Steve Flint said....I'm fairly certain that you are correct in your assumption. As you know, the America was owned by Cleaver-Brooks of Milwaukee, WI before being donated to CWM.
The Shea-Matson Co. came about thru a 1946 merger between the Shea Drayage Co. (Racine, WI) and the Matson Co. (Kenosha, WI). They specialized in the transport and moving of heavy equipment.
Based on the title of the company, the vintage of the truck, and the configuration of the wagon itself, I'm betting this is the wagon being delivered to CWM Baraboo.
The wagon was donated to CWM in 1959.
More history of the transport company. In 1973 the company was purchased by Dawes Transfer (Milwaukee, WI) and became known as the Shea-Matson-Dawes Co. A few years later the name was changed to Dawes Rigging & Crane Rental. In 1978 the company was again sold to ALL Erection & Crane Rental Corp. (Cleveland, OH). The Dawes branch has 31 locations nationwide including Madison and Milwaukee.
Courtesy of John Goodall

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