Russell Bros. Circus, 1932


This photograph is an aerial view of the circus lot of the Russell Bros. Circus at Janesville, Wisconsin, in 1932. The availability of trucks following World War I led to a rapid growth of the trucking industry in the United States. Circuses quickly adapted to the new technology by creating "truck shows" or circuses that traveled overland via truck. Truck shows brought the circus to smaller towns across the country previously inaccessible by rail. This image shows a typical medium-sized truck show of the mid-20th century. The sideshow tent and banner line can be seen at center right. The big top tent is at left. Concession tents, ticket wagons, and cars and trucks are scattered across the lot. Residential houses and farm fields can be seen in the distance.

Last updated: March 21, 2014