The Circus at the Mound

Many circus troops came to Bartlesville, and the Mound was one of the most popular locations in the early days through the 1940’s. Aside from the Mound,  the circus companies also set up in various locations in downtown Bartlesville from time to time. Times change, and in the 40s the most popular place to set up a circus was located at the Phillips Petroleum lot across Highway 123 from the Smelters compound, still within sight of the Mound.

DAILEY BROS. AMUSEMENT SHOW/CIRCUS

The summer of 1928 brought the Dailey Bros. Amusement Show with rides and concessions, along with their circus. The newspaper ad printed the address as ‘on the Mound Show lot.’ Their big attraction was Satan, the largest python ever brought to America!

 THE LONE RANGER RIDES THE MOUND

 

 

Lee Powell, original star of the talking screen epic, The Lone Ranger, came to town on Monday, August 28, 1939. Surrounded by his own company of rangers, cowboys and cowgirls, scores of spirited horses and a group of American Indians, he took Bartlesville by storm. I would guess that between shows they may have run the horses up the Mound for exercise and practice rounds. Can you imagine how thrilled the kids were when the Lone Ranger galloped into the tent riding high in his silver-plated saddle and silver studded bridle, astride his wonder horse!

An extra added feature attraction was Baron Richard Nowak, the World’s Smallest Man. Nowak, 18 years old at the time, stood 23″  tall and only weighed 17 pounds.

Baron Richard Nowak
Baron Richard Nowak

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Profitt’s Bakery

Profitt’s Bakery, located in Bartlesville, was the circus sponsor. ‘Eat Profitt’s Bread and be strong like The Lone Ranger’ was their campaign ad.

Lightcrust Bread
Profitt’s Lightcrust Bread ad

The 1920s through 1940s was good for the Profitt Bakery, located at 121 Comanche. Going back in the history of this bakery, it was the J.R. Fitts Bakery when J.E. Metcalf and W.J. Ross purchased it on June 5, 1922. Shortly thereafter, the Proffit Brothers bought the Ross Bakery on September 17, 1922, and that was when the name was changed to Profitt Brothers Bakery. Almost twenty years later, C.R. Murray purchased the bakery in September, 1941. The original staff stayed with Murray, and included J.E. Cunningham, C.E. Profitt, and O.E. Clayton. The bakers were Mae Cunningham, S.L. Huff, Marceline Carr, and John Ponder. The drivers were A.M. ‘Art’ Christy and E.S. Ed Blair. The new 1941 Profitt Bakery slogan was ‘Profitt’s is Better Bread….Had You Noticed?’

COL. ZACK T. MILLER’S 101 RANCH WILD WEST SHOW

But probably the most famous circus that performed at the Mound was Col. Zack T. Miller’s 101 Ranch Wild West Show. Col. Miller brought the Spirit of the Old West to the Mound on Tuesday, August 13, 1946. Just a few of the popular shows was the Indian Massacre on a stage coach, and an outlaw attack on an emigrant train. They also had cowboy and cowgirl Chariot Races with trick riding. Maurice Marmalajo, wire walker king, held Bartians spellbound! There were also hundreds of animals, it was a sight to behold! Many books have been written about Miller’s 101 Ranch shows.

101 Wild West Show
101 Wild West Show at the Mound
101 Wild West Show at the Mound
101 Wild West Show at the Mound

HOW THE CIRCUS IS SET UP

The best way to understand how the circus came to town and was set up is described on the utube video that we have included. The circus always came to town on a train, and there would be many train cars filled with circus people with everything they needed to set it up. The circus was always a welcome sight to the grocers and other merchants in town because they would buy large quantities of groceries and supplies for their great shows. There was almost always a circus parade, which consisted of the animals being transported to the circus arena. Schools would dismiss their students for the parades, and my parents have told me in detail about the excitement of watching the elephants and the other animals being herded to the Mound or other circus locations. The dangerous animals, lions and bears, would be put in cages and placed on trucks to be driven in the parade. It was probably more dangerous than should have been allowed, however,  we don’t have any stories of animals getting loose and mauling anybody.  There was one incident when a python snake disappeared for several hours but was eventually found in downtown Bartlesville, again, without any attacks or problems.

Circus Trains
Dailey Bros. Circus trains pull into town
Dailey Bros. Circus
Dailey Bros. Circus Poster

Bartlesvillia presents: The Mound

 

Many a month has come and gone Since I wandered from my home In those Oklahoma hills where I was born. Many a page of life has turned, Many a lesson I have learned; Well, I feel like in those hills I still belong.

‘Way down yonder in the Indian Nation Ridin’ my pony on the reservation, In those Oklahoma hills where I was born. Now, ‘way down yonder in the Indian Nation, A cowboy’s life is my occupation, In those Oklahoma hills where I was born.

But as I sit here today, Many miles I am away From a place I rode my pony through the draw, While the oak and blackjack trees Kiss the playful prairie breeze, In those Oklahoma hills where I was born.

Now as I turn life a page To the land of the great Osage In those Oklahoma hills where I was born, While the black oil it rolls and flows And the snow-white cotton grows In those Oklahoma hills where I was born.

The Mound is a hill that is located on the Washington County/Osage County line in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. The online dictionary defines a mound as a natural elevation, such as a small hill. The Mound stands 866 feet tall. It ranks as the 513th highest mountain in Oklahoma, and 58,997th highest mountain in the United States.  (Google:  Peakery)  Since February 8, 1955, the City of Bartlesville has had a water tank on top of the Mound. In 2010 the older double water tanks were replaced with a decorative water tank that lights up at night.  This blog will cover the history of the Mound with the subjects:

  • Airdome
  • Circus
  • Skating Rink
  • Grand Ole Opry show
  • Pioneer businesses around the Mound
  • Human Interest Stories
  • Fireworks shows
  • Sunset Country Club
  • Agape Mission
  • Airports
  • Historical periods
  • Gunner, the Caney River Hound Dawg runs the Mound
  • KAKC Radio and Zesto

“The county seat of Washington County, Bartlesville was Oklahoma’s first oil boomtown and a leading energy center of the twentieth century. Located in west-central Washington County, the city lies near the Washington-Osage county line, forty-seven miles north of Tulsa, and is crossed by U.S. Highways 60 and 75, State Highway 123, the South Kansas and Oklahoma Railroad, and the Caney River. In 2000 Bartlesville covered a land area of 21.105 square miles and had 34,748 residents, making it Washington County’s largest and most populous community.”  (Google, Oklahoma Historical Society)

Gunner Runs the Mound
Gunner Runs the Mound