On August 21, 1906, four of “Barlow’s Elephants,” a popular animal act featured at the Luna Park amusement park located near S. Glebe Road and South Eads Street, escaped from their quarters and decided to take a brief tour of the local area. One was corralled quickly, but the other three remained at large for several weeks, until their recapture in Fairfax County. The animals were then loaded on a freight train at Burke Station and safely returned to Coney Island.
For more information on the elephant escape, interested readers may want to peruse the book, Elephants and Quaker Guns: A History of Civil War and Circus Days by Jane Chapman Whitt, in the Virginia Room.
Did you know?
— Bailey’s Crossroads is named for the Lewis Bailey family, whose circus eventually became the current Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey Circus.
— The names of the four elephants that escaped were “Annie”, “Tom”, “Jennie”, and “Queenie”.
What About You?
Do you have any interesting memories of attending the circus as a child? Let us know what you remember!