Old timers said they had been shows where the present Christian Church is in the very southwest corner of present-day Brazil. There was a medicine show on the west side of Water Works Road years ago.
The Hagenbeck & Wallace, Ringling Brothers, and Barnum & Bailey big shows came to town in train loads, and the young boys of the neighborhood would hurry down to carry water to the animals. The shows pitched their tents on the west side of Depot Street on the ground occupied by Peter Eckrich & Sons meat business and the City Coal Yard located between Depot and Sherman Streets. They would first have a parade on Main Street of elephants, ladies on fine horses, clowns and a calliope, the music of which was a great delight to young and old alike. At the side show were the smaller things, such as snakes, a fat woman weighing more than 600 pounds, and a wild woman of Borneo; tricks and the like were opened first. The big tent was opened later, showing horses, elephants with pretty women riders, clown acts, and wild animals. Brazil’s clown, Herman Egner, and his goose were with one of the shows.
A Wild West Show pitched its tents one time about where the Clay County Hospital is today. The property then was a big field known as Ashley Field. There were Indians dressed in their native dress and feathered head gear in the show with their spotted ponies. Riding their ponies, they chased intruding boys out of the field.
The World’s Fair Switch crossed National Road in the very eastern part of Brazil. It was a railroad that served the Weaver Coal and Clay Company, later known as Hollow Brick and Tile Company. The World’s Fair Grounds were southeast of the factory. On June 28th and 29th of 1901 a march formed at Jackson Street and moved north on Meridian to Main (now National) and east to the Grounds.
There was a race track around a very big pond with bleacher seating for spectators. Trotting and running races were held for Clay County horses, but some way, the early known great race horse, Dan Patch, got in on a race. Later, Dan Patch, reared at Oxford, Indiana, ran races in the east and became famous. There were many pictures of him for youngsters to enjoy and draw pictures from.
They also had ball games and automobile races. There was a five-mile automobile and motorcycle race, a bicycle race for boys under sixteen, and a tub race on the lake for boys under fourteen years. A three-mile mule race was open to all with a purse of $20. Conditions: Each rider was to have two mules and only one saddle and bridle; they were to change saddle and bridle from one mule to the other each one-half mile. Money divided was $10, $7, & $3. Fire crackers were not banned, and young men would light one and throw it at the feet of young women to make them jump.
Source: History of Clay County, Indiana, 1880-1984
Submitted by Jo Ann Pell, Clay County Genealogy Library