The Circus

16-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Tuesday, June 1, 1911:

Of all the months, my favorite is

The radiant glorious month of June.

How many are the joys it brings,

And also tells that the year is noon.

Every cloud has a silver lining. Ruth and I went to the circus, accompanied by Miss R. O. You see my darling sister sometimes changes her mind for the better. I though the circus was great even if you did blow 60 cents.

Article in June 1, 1911 issue of the Milton Evening Standard.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Yeah! I’m glad that Grandma was able to go to the circus after all. R.O. refers to Rachel Oakes—a friend of Grandma and her sister.

The circus came to Milton on the train. There then was a parade as the entertainers, the animals, and their equipment went through town to the fairground (where the actual circus was held).

Recent photo of railroad tracks and an old railroad station building. A hundred years ago today, the circus train probably sat on a siding here--and the parade would have begun in this area.

The parade apparently was awesome and the focus of the front page story in the June 1, 1911 edition of the Milton Evening Standard.

Somewhat surprisingly there don’t seem to be photos of the actual circus in either the June 1 or June 2 issue of the paper. I suppose the paper “went to bed” too early for photos on June 1—though I’m not sure why there were none on June 2. Maybe newspaper photographers weren’t allowed under the big tent to help encourage people to buy tickets and attend the circus rather than just viewing it vicariously by reading the newspaper.

It sounds like Grandma enjoyed the circus—though she doesn’t seem ecstatic about it since she mentions blowing 60 cents. She seems to doing some sort of cost-benefit analysis in her head—and almost wishing that she still had the 60 cents.

Sixty cents  in 1911 dollars would be about $17 in 2011. A dollar today is worth about 1/28th what it was worth a hundred years ago. In other words, there has been an average annual inflation rate of 3.4% per year over the past hundred years.

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