Ontario Beach Park – #14

For a week beginning Aug. 4, 1902 the Elk’s club of Rochester sponsored a carnival at Ontario Beach Park. The Bostock-Ferari circus and shows came in about 25 railroad cars with 350 people and 200 wild and domestic animals. Frank C. Bostock ran the wild animal tent. That had shows with lions, tigers, leopards, bears, pumas, wolves, hyenas and other animals. He had been at the Pan-American Exposition (World’s Fair) in Buffalo in 1901. Mr. Bostock would come back to Ontario Beach Park in later years.

Other attractions were the five Belford Brothers (acrobats from the London Hippodrome), The four Ayerls (three women and a male aerialists from the Follies Bergare, Paris), the two Chester sisters (marvelous trapeze artists), Prince Youturkey (a Japanese man who appears in a “slide for life”), the Great Leon and his singing donkeys, Tom and Jerry, and lastly Mrs. Murphy, the monkey aeronaut who ascends in a balloon and makes a sensational parachute leap from 2,000 feet.

An exhibit was the “Streets of Cairo” with Turkish dancing girls and Arab warriors and swordsmen. It also included camels and donkeys. Another exhibit had dancers from Ceylon. Then there was a “Japanese Fair” and some Venetian Gondolas. I never did figure what the attraction called “The Girl from Up There” was. Only thing mentioned was that it was  some sort of electrical show.

They also had the Aztec twins, Dora and Attie, who stood only 3 feet and weighed 37 pounds. Newspapers accounts say that their heads were no bigger than a good sized doll and they are intelligent but only spoke a few words of English

Mr. Esau is some kind of ape from the Congo who had a gold tooth. The Democrat & Chronicle of Aug. 5th said he was dressed in evening attire. Was 3½ years old. Pretended to play piano and use a typewriter. Eats with a knife and fork and pours his own tea. At the end of the act he sat on a chair at the edge of the stage and shook hands with anyone who wanted to.

Some of the outdoor attractions were free with admission to the Park but most attractions in tents, including the circus, had additional charges.

Late in 1902 there was a mention that there would be vaudeville shows until Oct. 1 at “The Casino Family Theater.” I thought that all gambling games had been pushed out of the park, but there were still some. In fact, a couple of men were arrested for breaking a nickel slot machine. They were sent to see Judge Laverty and were each fined $5 plus had to pay $25 for repairs to the machine.

One Comment

  1. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to have seen these shows. What an offering in our area at the time.

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