Old Island Park | Circus Capital

Play Audio

  • Circus Island - Kevin O'Keefe

  • Circus Capital - Island in the Stream


Why is Vermont the circus capital of the US and Brattleboro its center? Brattleboro writer and circus artist Kevin O'Keefe explores why as he recounts 19th century news coverage of circuses on Island Park, now only a slip of land remaining between New Hampshire and Vermont in the Connecticut River over which the Anna Hunt Marsh and Charles Dana bridges traverse. From PT Barnum to the Lentz NY Circus, troupes would arrive at the Brattleboro train station in scores of cars filled with elephants, horses, camels, and workers enough to erect a small town for a few days on the island. From elephants bathing in the river to warnings of 'circus people and their ways', these accounts provide a humorous look at the local fascination with the greatest show on Earth.

Tour Stop Location

Island between Brattleboro and New Hampshire 05301, United States

Research & Production

Audio Producer: Reg Martell
Research & Narration: Kevin O'Keefe

Ongoing Development and Involvement:
As a community-created project, we encourage ongoing dialogue, questions, and engagement. If you would like to be involved in future developments, have information or a perspective that could deepen others' understanding of this topic, please contact us.

Photos & Video

  • <p>Kevin O'Keefe, community researcher</p>