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Songs and Stories
     October 2, 2019      #4D-275 SsK

Ponderous pachyderms parade through Kankakee 

Ponderantes paquidermos desfilan por Kankakee

By Jack Klasey

Late in the morning July 25, 1912, a file of “ponderous pachyderms” (as P.T. Barnum would describe them; ordinary folks just said “elephants”) ambled slowly down Court Street in Kankakee, to the music of a brass band and the delight of hundreds of young (and not-so-young) spectators.

The circus had come to Kankakee.

This nose-to-tail lineup of elephants was photographed along Court Street when the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus (a major Barnum & Bailey competitor) played here in the early 1900s. Photos courtesy of the Kankakee County Museum Photo Archive

Billing itself as “The Greatest Show on Earth,” the Barnum & Bailey Circus visited the city for only a single day, with afternoon and evening performances under a huge tent. By the following morning, the circus would be gone, heading 80 ...

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