Old Island Park | Circus Capital

Play Audio

  • Circus Island - Kevin O'Keefe

  • Island in the Stream - the History and Flooding of the Island


Listen to Brattleboro writer and circus artist Kevin O'Keefe explore why Vermont is the circus capital of the US with Brattleboro at its center. 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 enough workers 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. In the second audio segment, Elizabeth McCollum reads the 2006 Brattleboro Reformer article "Island In The Stream by Kate Lecuyer. Listening, you can imagine people gathered in the Pavillion to dance, eat ice cream, watch a movie or cheer on a baseball game.

Tour Stop Location

Island between Brattleboro and New Hampshire 05301, United States

Research & Production

Audio Producer: Reg Martell
SEGMENT 1: Research & Narration: Kevin O'Keefe
SEGMENT 2: Brattleboro Reformer article 2006 "Island In The Stream" by Kate Lecuyer
Narration: Elizabeth McCollum

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>