Corry, PA Circus Tent Blown Down, May 1909

FIERCE WIND BLEW DOWN TENT.

OVER THREE HUNDRED PERSONS BURIED UNDER CANVAS.

NO INJURIES SERIOUS.

HORSES, ELEPHANTS AND CAMELS WERE RESTRAINED FROM STAMPEDE WITH DIFFICULTY.

Corry, Pa., May 17. -- Amid the roars of the animals in the menagerie and the shrieking of the wind outside, the main tent of Cole Bros.' circus collapsed just before 8 o'clock Saturday night, burying about 300 people beneath a mountain of canvas. Several were painfully injured, but none fatally, by the falling poles and scats. It was only by the combined efforts of keepers, hostlers, tentmen and all the other employes that a wild stampede of the elephants, camels and horses was prevented.
A heavy rain fell during the afternoon, accompanied by vivid flashes of lightning. The storm did not abate as night came on and for that reason comparatively few people were inside the mammoth tent when it collapsed.
Employes of the circus -- those who were not tangled up in the wreckage -- worked manfully to extract the people from the maze of ropes, dripping canvas and tent poles. They were assisted by civilian volunteers. A hurry call was sent for the ambulance and every doctor available was pressed into service to look after the injured. Four people were removed directly to the Corry Hospital, while about a score of others found temporary accommodations in nearby houses.
Among the most painfully injured were MRS. JESSIE DAVIDS, MRS. FRED HALL, CHARLES TUTTLE and a boy named MARSHALL.
The evening performance was just about to commence when the crash came. No effort was made to again raise the tent, but the men set to work immediately preparing it for shipment to the next stopping place -- Oil City -- where the circus is scheduled to show on Monday. It was early Sunday morning before the wreckage was finally cleared away and the last piece placed aboard the cars. The large tent was torn considerably and the loss to the circus people will be considerable.

Warren Evening Mirror Pennsylvania 1909-05-17