Thomas Palmer

Occasionally, even the best plans are thwarted by unexpected forces. In the case of our promise to share the story of Jumbo the Elephant’s visit to Galion was broken when I came down with a nasty virus. Yes, THAT virus.

As this Saturday will see Come Home to Galion events, I thought that it might make sense to go ahead and share last week’s post late, and this week’s early, by combining the two today.

Yes, indeed, Jumbo was here. Who knew?

Jumbo the elephant, in the short three years of touring America before his death in 1885 at the age of 25, visited our own fair city. He was an African bush elephant born in Sudan, and was sold to impresario P.T. Barnum in 1882 for a claimed price of $200,000.

The elephant stood 10.6 feet tall at the shoulder and weighed six tons.

The following is from coverage shared in the Galion Inquirer dated October, 1884:

Barnum’s Circus was in town, also bringing a 488 x 252 feet “big top,” a (very unfortunately named) “Ethnological Congress of Savage and Barbarous Tribes,” 40 giraffes, 32 camels, a giant rhinoceros, 8 lions, 6 giant baboons, 6 “educated kangaroos,” and much, much more.

The entourage included over 700 people. Tickets were 50 cents for adults, 25 cents for children.

Two days later, the paper reported that attendance was good despite “inclement and miserable” weather. The only major casualty was the inability of the “circus ladies” to participate in the parade through the center of town.