Saturday, May 25, 2013

Memorial Weekend Fun, Circa 1921

If you're looking for some family entertainment in Rochester this Memorial Day weekend, you'll probably pay a visit to the Greater Rochester Heritage Days in the Rochester Municipal Park.  Rochester has hosted the festival for more than three decades now, and it always delivers fun for all ages while educating audiences about our history.

Well, that's today. Do you know what families did for fun on Memorial Day weekend 92 years ago?  This advertisement from the Rochester Era issue of May 27, 1921 gives us a clue.  Townspeople gathered at the corner of Fourth & Wesley streets for a vaudeville circus called the Robbins Overland Show. This traveling show was started in 1921 by an Eaton Rapids farmer named Cadwell Robbins.  In his 1952 book entitled The Only Eaton Rapids on Earth, historian W. Scott Munn tells us this about Robbins and his show:
He carried a score of actors besides his band and laborers, and gave his audiences a regular circus with all the frills.  The second year was rough going. A farmer does not speak the same language as the "profess," so he bowed out of the picture, and sold out to George Miller, who operated [the show] until 1926 when he disposed of the outfit and joined the Tiger Bill Show, retiring in 1929.

It seems that the Robbins show was short-lived, so this was probably its one and only performance in Rochester.  If you live in the neighborhood of Fourth & Wesley today, imagine looking out your window to see Opal the Wonder Pony and Julia the Educated Monkey parading down your street!

No comments:

Post a Comment