Circus Midway Scene


This 1935 photograph shows a crowd gathering on the midway of the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus, heading towards the entrance marquee tent. On the left is the painted banner line depicting freaks and attractions in the sideshow, an added fee attraction operating before the main show. On the right can be seen concession tents and ticket wagons. Visible behind the marquee entrance is the “free” menagerie tent consisting of the exhibition of exotic caged animals, elephants, and other lead stock. By the 1930s, the midway had become an important part of the American circus experience. Based in Peru, Indiana, the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus was at one time the second-largest circus in America, after the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Its origins went back to famed animal trainer Carl Hagenbeck (1844–1913), whose Carl Hagenbeck Circus was bought by Benjamin Wallace in 1907. The circus ceased operations in 1938.

Last updated: December 14, 2012