Gollmar Brothers Circus in United States


Gollmar Brothers Circus



Typecircus

Owner -: Fred C. Gollmar
-: Jake Gollmar
1891-: Ben Gollmar
1891-: Charles Gollmar
1891-: Walter S. Gollmar
Founded1891
Place Baraboo
Country United States

Directors-1926: Isabelle Gollmar (assistant director)

Key People -: Robert Gollmar (artist)
1922-: Danny Odom (manager)
1922-1923: Clyde Beatty (animal trainer)

Veterinarians

Elephant department

Head keepers
of elephants
: Bert Noyes
(elephant trainer)
1903-1916: Emory Stiles
(elephant trainer)
1922-1923: Joe Metcalf
(elephant superintendent)

Elephant keepers
Record history
History of updates2022-09-21

Latest document update2022-09-21 14:51:07
Relevant literature
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Description

Gollmar Brothers Circus, in Baraboo, United States , was founded in 1891.


Comments / picturesThe Gollmar Bros. were first cousins of the Ringling Bros. and the Moeller Wagon Co. owners., and operated a circus. Between 1891 and 1916, out of Baraboo, like the Ringlings.

Gollmar Brothers Circus in United States United+StatesGollmar Bros. Circus winter quarters, which was located where 2nd Avenue crosses the Baraboo River.


Although lesser known than their first cousins, the famous Ringling brothers, the Gollmars made lasting contributions to American Circus history. The Gollmar Bros. Greatest of American Shows operated out of winter quarters on Baraboo’s Second Avenue from 1891 until 1916, with brothers Walter, Fred, Charles, Ben, and Jake Gollmar as proprietors. For the following decade, the Gollmar name was leased to other circuses, last being used in 1926.

The Gollmar brothers always staged a street parade in Baraboo before going on tour. They made sure that the route passed by their parents’ house on Second Avenue and Birch Street.

-Baraboo’s Rich Circus Heritage


1899: George W. Popcorn Hall was in the business of buying and selling circus animals. In April 1899, he sold the elephant, Palm, that he had raised from a baby. The elephant went to the Gollmar Brothers Shows, located in Baraboo. They also purchased some of the rare tropical birds and some cages from the Hall circus. His daughter, Jessie Hall McCart, and her husband, Frank, traveled with the Gollmar Brothers Shows in the 1903 circus season. The McCarts had two children, Fred and Vivian.

Gollmar Brothers Circus in United States United+StatesEmory Stiles with Daisy on Gollmar Bros circa 1905

1906: In January 1906, Jessie Hall McCart, whose shaky marriage to circus performer, Frank McCart, had dissolved in divorce, married Walter S. Gollmar. McCart died in 1912.

Gollmar Brothers Circus in United States United+States
Downtown Baraboo scene of a Gollmar Bros. Circus parade, circa 1907-1908.

Records about Gollmar Brothers Circus from William "Buckles" Woodcocks Blog at http://www.bucklesw.blogspot.com/
Gollmar Brothers Circus in United States United+StatesMy dad wrote on the back: "Gollmar Winter Quarters in Baraboo Wis."
All I can make out of the writing below is is 1908.
This looks like the wrong time of year unless they were playing Baraboo later in the season. I see some paper in the background.
The eight Ringling elephants would have been wintered at at the Water St. Quarters.

William "Buckles" Woodcock


Records about Gollmar Brothers Circus from William "Buckles" Woodcocks Blog at http://www.bucklesw.blogspot.com/
Gollmar Brothers Circus in United States United+States
These are the eight elephants leased to Gollmar Bros. Circus from their cousins the Ringlings for the 1908-09 seasons. Tho advertised as "The Forepaugh Dancing Eight" only four remained from the famous act trained for Adam Forepaugh by Stewart Craven in the early 1880's, "Columbia", "Betts", "Romeo" and "Rubber". Two Sells Bros. elephants were included "Queen" and "Babe" plus two surplus Ringling elephants "Alice" and "Vanita". In the picture above we see them being presented by the Gollmar elephant man Emory Stiles and assisted by Bert Noyes at right.

William "Buckles" Woodcock


Records about Gollmar Brothers Circus from William "Buckles" Woodcocks Blog at http://www.bucklesw.blogspot.com/
Gollmar Brothers Circus in United States United+StatesThis well circulated picture has an interesting story. After the Ringlings purchased the Barnum Show, their 4-Paw & Sells Circus lay dormant for two years 1908 and 1909 during which time they leased the "Forepaugh Dancing Eight" to their cousins the Gollmars." Buckles

The three elephants at left are "Dutch", "Baby Daisy" and "Palm" the eight leased elephants at right were a conglomeration of 4-Paw elephants, Sells elephants and Ringling elephants. Of the original Dancing 8, only three remained "Rubber", "Betts" and "Romeo". (all females). 1. Sells Queen 2. Sells Babe 3. Rubber 4. Betts 5. Romeo 6, Columbia 7. Alice 8. Vanita

Letter from Bill Woodcock to Dick Conover 4-2-63 "Believe I absorbed the names of the 8 Forepaugh Quadrille elephants:
John, Babe, Queen, Romey (Romeo), Columbia (male), Betts, Dutch and Rubber."

William "Buckles" Woodcock


1910: The show carries 120 head of stock, mostly dapple grays, and in fine condition. In the menagerie are fifteen cages of animals, seven elephants, seven camels, including a baby camel, and a string of ponies.
New York clippings 1910

Records about Gollmar Brothers Circus from William "Buckles" Woodcocks Blog at http://www.bucklesw.blogspot.com/
Gollmar Brothers Circus in United States United+States
After the "Dancing 8" were returned to the Ringlings in 1910 for their new version of the 4-Paw-Sells Show, the Gollmar Herd rose to five as seen here "Palm", "Dutch", "Daisy", "Louie" and "Tommy". I remember "Daisy" well from my days in Hugo.

The Gollmars had as many as seven elephants before going off the road in 1918.

William "Buckles" Woodcock


1916: The Gollmars sold their show to James Patterson who put it out for a single season.

1922: In 1922 noted circus manager Jerry Mugivan leased the show title. June 28, Stevens Point, WI, four baby elephants came on here. During 1922 the American Circus Corp. imported a number of small Indian elephants. These were green and unbroken animals and they had to be worked with considerably before they were ready for the ring. Arriving on Gollmar Bros. during the 1922 season were Modoc, Jewel, Pearl, Judy, all females, and Danny, a male.

Records about Gollmar Brothers Circus from William "Buckles" Woodcocks Blog at http://www.bucklesw.blogspot.com/
Gollmar Brothers Circus in United States United+StatesThree of the four punks delivered to the Gollmar Show in 1922 and now seen in parade with John Robinson in McCook, Nebraska on August 2, 1924. Note the saddles.

William "Buckles" Woodcock


1926: the Gollmars decided to retire the show permanently in 1926.

References for records about Gollmar Brothers Circus

Recommended Citation

Koehl, Dan (2024). Gollmar Brothers Circus, Elephant Encyclopedia. Available online at https://www.elephant.se/location2.php?location_id=608. (archived at the Wayback machine)

Sources used for this article is among others:



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