A visit to the International Circus Hall of Fame ahead of the Indiana State Fair


PERU, Ind. (WISH) — On a road called Circus Lane, sits the International Circus Hall of Fame in Peru, Indiana. 

Inside the buildings on the property are displays of the animals and costumes people wore around 100 years ago. 

“Matter of fact in the front was a training barn where they would bring the cats in,” said John Wright, president of the International Circus Hall of Fame. 

As well as pictures of what it looked like when those people and animals were around. 

“We’re at the Peru Winter quarters, that used to be the home Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus and the American Circus Corporation,” he said. 

The glory years — he says — were between 1922 and 1929. 

“That’s where they had the cats and the elephants. The elephants were here and the cats were there,” Wright said walking through one of the buildings. 

Wright says the American Circus Corporation owned five different circuses, with three of them using the Peru Winter Quarters as their home base before traveling around the country to perform. 

“That was the Robin Brothers Circus here in Peru one of the five circuses that came out here,” Wright said pointing to a wagon. 

In 1929, Wright says, John Ringling bought the American Circus Corporation, including the Peru Winter Quarters. 

The majority of the items were either burned or taken to Florida. In the ’80s, those items and others started to make their way back to Peru. 

To a place where some of those participating in the greatest shows on earth once came in and out of Circus Lane. 

Several items from the International Circus Hall of Fame will be on display at the Indiana State Fair. This year’s theme for the fair is based on the circus. 

For more information about the International Circus Hall of Fame, click here

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