Do you remember when the circus used to come to town?

I do ... it was a big deal.

Railroad cars filled with performers and animals would arrive at the Pennsylvania depot on East Liberty Street. Huge crowds would be there to meet them ... even in the early hours of the morning.

Onlookers would watch as the animals were unloaded, the elephants doing the heavy work. The roustabouts would be poking and prodding the horses and hitching them up to wagon/cages that held lions, tigers and bears. Then they’d get them into line for the big parade, the elephants — tail to trunk — lumbering along.

By mid-morning everything would be ready for the march west on Liberty Street to the fairgrounds. When they arrived, the elephants would assist in raising the huge tent and the afternoon and evening shows would thrill hundreds of local people.

As each act finished the last show, the trek back to the depot would begin and by midnight all would be loaded back onto the train and the circus would leave Wooster and move on to another location.

Her favorite

Vivian DeLuna of Seville called to say her favorite restaurant of all time was Hanson’s at the corner of East Liberty and North Buckeye streets where today’s Daily Record newsroom is located.

"When I was working in the office of the Cussins and Fern appliance store downtown," recalled the 88-year-old, "I ate lunch there every day. There was a man at the grill out front who made the best hot ham and cheese sandwiches."

Old tanneries

An article from an old Wooster newspaper reported that the oldest tannery in town started in business in 1813 on what is North Buckeye Street today.

"Away back in the early log cabin days of Wooster," stated the 1872 newspaper, "the (tannery made the) leather leggings and buckskin needed by the pioneer settlers of Wayne County."

Eventually two more tanneries, the Bucholtz and Immel tanneries, operated in Wooster. In the late 1800s the original tannery — which smelled as bad as the others — "offered oak tanned leather of all kinds from the heaviest harness to the finest calf." By then it was known as the Seigenthaler tannery.

FYI

Electrical service made its debut in Wooster in January 1886, when a small electric generator was set up in the old Wooster Armory. As a group of interested but skeptical citizens watched, those first few volts followed a line to a nearby machine shop and lighted eight newly-installed arc lights.

Thought you should know.

Columnist Ann Gasbarre can be reached at agasbarre@gmail.com or 330-345-6419.