1905 Season

From Olentangy Park Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
1905 Season
Manager(s) Joseph W. Dusenbury, president
Will J. Dusenbury, manager
The Olentangy Park Company
Opening Day April 30, 1905
Closing Day September 17, 1905 (Theater)
September 24, 1905 (Fair Japan)
October 1905 (Park)
New Attractions Fair Japan Japanese Village
Open-Air Circus
Theater Manager William W. Prosser

The Olentangy Park, Theater, and Zoological Garden opened for the 1905 season on Sunday, April 30, 1905.[1][2] Creatore's Italian Band performed during the opening weeks at the theater.[3] Admission to the park was 5 cents ($1.73 in 2023) and included "free admission" to the Zoo, Museum of Ornithology, band concerts, and the Dog and Pony Circus.[4] The theater closed for the season on September 17, 1905.[5][6] The Fair Japan, the Japanese villiage closed for the season on September 24, and the park sometime in October.[7]

Park Improvements

To make room for the growth of the zoo (see rides and attractions), the park grounds were extended to Doddridge Street and the meadowlands on each side of the Glen Echo Run [published as "the river"] were added and beautified. More electric lights were strung over the grounds and along the river. Arches of incandescent lights were also added.[3] The paths were newly graveled and all buildings were newly painted. Deep wells were bored to provide cold drinking water to patrons.[2]

For ride and attraction changes, see the Rides and Attractions section.

Notable Events

Animal Escape

William Collins, the "animal man" at the park, was in a violent struggle with an escaped grey wolf that was brought in from the zoo at Bronx Park in New York. The original cage for the wolf needed repairs, so the animal was placed in a temporary wooden cage with iron bars. The day before the attack, a rainstorm made the wood weak enough for the wolf to gnaw through and escape. The night watchmen saw it and gathered the night and day forces to capture it. Collins had a history with circuses, so he was called for his expertise. Collins chased the animal down to the Olentangy River bank and tried to restrain it with a rope and nose chain. The wolf bit Collins repeatedly on the hands and arms before he was able to place the nose chain. This all happened at night in the rain, lit by a lantern that was knocked out in the struggle. Collins was able to return it to a cage and later healed from his wounds.[8]

15th/16th District Republican Convention

About 150 delegates from Muskingum, Perry, Delaware, and Licking counties went to Olentangy Park on August 8 to nominate a Republican candidate for state senator from their districts.[9] During the event, Secretary George H. Hamilton claimed that a member of the Licking County delegation offered him a check for $500 ($17,280 in 2023) to vote for Charles E. Cochran of near Dresden. The offer was said to have taken place behind the Park Hotel in New Lexington.[10]


J. W. Dusenbury was sued by Binzo Suzuki and Sohechi Iida for $1,102 (over $38,000 in 2023) for Japanese goods and merchandise that furnished Fair Japan. The Aquarama Company also sued Dusenbury for not paying its agreed-upon percentages derived from the operation of the Ye Olde Mill ride.[11]

Japanese watercolor artist F. J. Baske and 10 other Japanese workers at Olentangy Park sued Dusenbury for not paying them for their final month and a half of work. Dusenbury told them he'd pay after meeting with the Fair Japan architect, Kushibiki Yumindo, but the workers did not believe Kushibiki would come to Columbus. This underpayment led to Baske selling his paintings so the group could stay in Columbus or travel to New York.[12]

Related Happenings

Olentangy Park manager J. W. Dusenbury was also a lessee of nearby Minerva Park. He kept Minerva Park closed while Olentangy Park was open despite it comprising of 159 acres and having attractions such as a dancing pavilion, lake, Figure Eight roller coaster, and bandstand. The Columbus members of the Patriotic Order of the Sons of America sought the property as a possible location for a national headquarters.[13]

Dusenbury purchased half an acre of land from John and Jennie Lowe on the east side of High Street, across from the park, for a summer hotel and clubhouse sometime after 1906.[14]

Rides and Attractions

New Fair Japan

Main Article: Fair Japan

Park manager J. W. Dusenbury contracted Kushibiki Yumindo [published as Umeto Kushibiki] to build a Japanese Village exhibit on 10 acres[2] at the park,[15] just north of the Figure Eight Toboggan, replacing the Miniature Railway. Kushibiki built and equipped the "Fair Japan" on the Pike at the Saint Louis World's Fair. The attraction was a representation of the Imperial Gardens in Tokyo, Japan, and featured a "toris," a square arch placed in front of Japanese temples; and arched wishing bridge called the "Bonsai Bridge"; shops with Japanese souvenirs; and topiaries of swans and flamingos.[15] It also included a "typical Japanese home" with a family living in the structure; an open stage with continuous performances by Japanese actors, tumblers, and jugglers; a bazaar; and tea houses staffed by Japanese women in costumes, where parkgoers removed their shoes before entering[15] and could drink tea from porcelain cups.[16][3] The staff, performers, etc. were probably a mix of races and ethnicities but dressed and performed in the representational ways of the time period.

Kushibiki worked with 8-15 other contractors from Japan starting in January 1905 with planned completion by May 10, a few days prior to the park's originally planned opening of May 14.[16] When the park opened on April 30, the exhibit wasn't finished and remained closed for the first week, opening on May 7.[17][18] Overall, 40 Japanese men and women came to Columbus to reconstruct the exhibit.[15]

While Creatore's Italian Band performed during the opening of the park, vaudeville acts were performed in the Fair Japan exhibition area.[19]

New Floral Conservatory and Greenhouses

Main Article: Floral Conservatory

Three new Greenhouses were built south of the pheasant cages and were stocked with plants of the California and Ohio exhibits of the Saint Louis World's Fair.[3] The main greenhouse was a large glass conservatory.[2]

Trained Animal Circus

The 1905 season had open-air performances every afternoon and evening by trained dogs, ponies, monkeys, and animals formerly with the Long Bros. Animal Show. Added were burros, donkeys, bears, and other trained animals. The circus was under the management of C. H. Long, formerly of the Long Bros. Circus. The show incorporated the pony and camel track where parkgoers could ride camels, ponies, donkeys, and burros hitched to small carts.[2]


Main Article: Boathouse

On May 21, Amelia Wylie, a ticket seller at the boathouse lost control of her skiff and became caught in the current of the Olentangy River. She lost hold of the skiff and ended up in the turbulent pool at the foot of the five-foot waterfall. Several people tried to save her before going over the edge, but had to instead run ahead to where her body reappeared and the water was shallow enough to rescue her. They were able to resuscitate her and she fully recovered.[20]


Main Article: Zoological Garden

Dusenbury purchased much of the Hagenback Animal Show, exhibited at the Saint Louis World's Fair, increasing the size of the Zoo for the 1905 season. The new animals included four sea lions, a rare sloth bear, a number of pheasants, pelicans, white and black swans, storks, cranes, seagulls, geese from the Straits of Magellan, and other aquatic birds. They were housed in open cages at the south end of the park. The elk and deer were moved from the east side to the south end of the park grounds.[3] In April, Dusenbury brought a giant alligator, shipped from Poro, Fla., to the zoo. It was 13.5 ft. (4.1 m) long and was the largest one in captivity at the time. The largest in any other zoo was said to be just over 11 ft. (3.4 m) long. The Olentangy Park gator was 1,100 lbs. (almost 500 kg) and came by express and cost the company $81.65 ($2,791 in 2023) to ship.[21] A Russian bear, a number of monkeys, lemurs, marmosets, agoutis, rare birds, and six Shetland ponies were added a week prior to the park's opening. This brought the number of ponies up to 42 and they were used in the Trained Animal Circus.[22] By July, the zoo occupied 20 acres of the park.[23]

Injury on Merry-Go-Round

On July 6, during an outing for orphans and poor children hosted by the Salvation Army, Eral Roach became dizzy while riding the merry-go-round and fell from a horse. He was badly shaken and bruised but recovered.[24]

Other Rides and Attractions

Theater, Vaudeville, and Stunt Performances

Olentangy Park Theater

Main Article: Olentangy Park Casino and Theater

The Dusenbury Brothers traveled to New York in February to book the vaudeville attractions for the season. Signor A. Liberati's Grand Military Band and the Operatic Concert Company of New York City performed the opening week of the theater that started May 14. The band had 50 musicians and vocalists.[3][25][26][27]

Reserved seats were 25 cents and 50 cents ($8.55 and $17.09 in 2023 respectively).[28]

Creatore and his Italian Band returned to perform twice per day for two weeks starting Friday, June 9 as part of the park's Music Festival.[29]


Vaudeville season began on May 21 with two sets of performances daily throughout the season.[30]

Week of May 21

Acts and performances:[30][31][32]

  • Rozinos, comedy acrobats, performing on a billiard table
  • The Herald Square Comedy Four, a quartet
  • Daly and Kelso, blackface actors
  • Gladys Van, singing comedienne
  • The Three Nudos, acrobats
  • Ben Omar, "The Human Top"
  • Harris and De Loss, acrobatic dancers
  • Prince Kokitchi Shimizu, Japanese wire walker

The Vitagraph featured "The Moonshiners."

Week of May 28

Acts and performances:[33][34]

  • The Musical Avolos, xylophone players
  • Lester and Moure, comedy sketch called "A Day at the Beach"
  • Constantineau and Lawrence, dancing
  • Dilla and Templeton, contortionists
  • Kitty Bingham, singing comedienne
  • Prince Kokitchi Shimizu, Japanese wire walker
  • Grant Gardner and Marie Stoddart, comedy sketch

The Vitagraph featured "The Incendiary."

Week of June 4

The vaudeville acts performed in Fair Japan while Creatore performed at the Theater.[35]

Acts and performances:[36]

  • Miron and Pearl, eccentric comedy
  • Sabel Johnson, singing comedienne
  • Fred Russell, comedy, monologue, and singing
  • Howard and Trusdell, comedy sketches
  • Three Troubadors, singing
  • Ethardo, equibrilist

Week of June 26

Acts and performances:[37]

  • Lockhart's Trained Elephants
  • Mr. and Mrs. Cal Stewart in their comedy sketch, "Uncle Josh on the Bowery"
  • Flo Adler, singing comedienne
  • Burton and Brooks, singing and talking act
  • Inness and Ryan
  • O'Brien and Dunio, Irish comedy
  • Great Milmar Brothers
  • Vitagraph
  • Japanese Wedding (at Fair Japan)

Week of July 2

Acts and performances:[38]

  • Mr. and Mrs. Perkins Fisher in a sketch, "The Half-Way House," written by comedian Ezra Kendall
  • J. Aldrich Libby and Katherine Trayer, musical sketch team
  • Charles McDonald, monologist
  • Zoe Mathews, singing comedienne
  • Emma Cotrely, European juggler
  • Antonio Van Gofre, mouth equilibrist and balancer
  • Oram and Oram
  • The Pelots, comedy jugglers

The Vitagraph showed a new picture.

Week of July 9

Acts and performances:[39][40]

  • Richard Barry and Virginia Johnson, comedy skit named "Held for Ransom"
  • The Faust Family, acrobatics
  • Bush and Gordon, eccentric acrobats
  • Rose Vandalour, banjo music (starting July 10)
  • Keeley Sisters, entertainers
  • Walter Stanton, dressed and performed as a giant rooster
  • Cleveland Quartette (starting July 10)

Week of July 16

Acts and performances:[41]

  • Smith and Fuller, musical act
  • Anna Gordon (nee Abbott), The Magnetic Wonder, magnetism act
  • Famous Metropolitan Four, also known as the Comedy Four, singing quartet
  • Hendrix and Prescott, dancing and singing
  • Manning and Drew, in the comedy sketch "The Irish Pawnbroker"

Week of July 23

Acts and performances:[42][43][44]

  • Myles McCarthy and Alda Woolcott, in "The Race Tout's Dream"
  • Henderson and Ross, in "Fun at Griggs' Corners"
  • Herbert and Willing, blackface comedians and dancers
  • Fayble, contortionist
  • Smirl and Kessner, in "The Bell Boy and the Waiting Maid," that included trick tumbling, fancy dancing, and acrobatic buck dancing along with their trained Maltese poodle, Pinkie
  • Trocadero Quartet, in "The Telephone Agent," a blackface singing and comedy act

Week of July 30

Acts and performances:[45][46]

  • Dixon, Bowers, and Leon, acrobatic comedy act
  • Claude and Fanny Usher, in their interpretation of "In Tough Love," a comedy sketch
  • Billy Link, blackface comedian
  • Frank C. Young and Bessie Devoie, soft shoe dancing
  • Grace Leonard, impersonator and singer
  • Minor and Galbreath, comedians
  • Mlle Latina, known as the "Physical Culture Girl," gymnastic act
  • The Faust Family (with Billy Link, starting July 31)

Week of August 6

Acts and performances:[47]

  • Mr. and Mrs. Neil Litchfield, in "Down at Brook Farm"
  • Petching Brothers, in a musical act called "The Musical Flower Garden"
  • Charlotte Ravenscroft, violinist
  • Milliard Brothers, comedy bicyclists
  • The Four Dancing Heiresses
  • Herman and Byers, pantomime

The Vitagraph showed a new picture.

Week of August 13

Acts and performances:[48][49]

  • Mardo Brothers, three-person comedy acrobat act
  • Grace Jones, singer
  • Haight and Dean, in a skit called "A Misfit Meeting"
  • Desmob and Miller, dancing and singing
  • Devaux and Devaux, musical artists
  • Golden and Hughes, blackface performance

Week of August 20

Acts and performances:[50][51]

  • Marriott Twins, juggling and spinning bicycles
  • Emerson and Omega, comedy sketch, "Don't Notice It"
  • Foster and his dog, Mike
  • Ed Hayes, blackface comedian
  • Dowd and Snyder, blackface singing and dancing
  • Camille Personi, comedienne
  • Faust Family, musical acrobatic act
  • Mardo Brothers, three-person comedy acrobat act

The Vitagraph showed a new picture.

Week of September 3

Acts and performances:[52][53]

  • Four Juggling Mortons
  • Campbell, Dillon, and Campbell, musicians
  • Herbert and Willing, blackface comedy sketch (until September 11)
  • Walter Stanton, "The Giant Rooster"
  • Tid Seymour & Company, Irish comedy skit
  • Mae Carleton, singing

Week of September 10 (Closing Week)

Acts and performances:[54][55]

  • Rappo Sisters, from the Imperial Queen Opera House in St. Petersburg, dancing
  • Circassian and Cossack, costumed dancing
  • Sadi Alferal, equilibrist
  • Cassad and DeVerne, comedy
  • Mexican Zamora Family, trapeze act
  • Hardie Langdon, baritone singing
  • James and Davis, singing and comedy

The Vitagraph showed a new picture.


Edwards and Glenwood performed wire walking and revolving latter act on the dog and pony circus grounds the week of July 23.[43]

The Great Diavolo (played by G. F. Matthiessen)[56]) performed the Loop-the-Loop with a bicycle twice daily from July 30-August 19. The loop was designed by Arthur T. Prescott, an American civil engineer. The man playing the character, Diavolo, dressed as a devil and performed the stunt previously with the Forepaugh-Sells Circus.[45] His performances brought record attendance to the park.[57]

"Prodigious Porthos" (also played by G. F. Matthiessen) performed "Leaping the Gap" where he rode a unicycle down an incline starting at 75 ft. above the ground to a ramp taking him back up 30 ft. where he soars through the air to the other side 50 feet away. He performed this stunt from August 20-27, 1905.[50][51] On July 22, a small black and white fox terrier ran out under the incline Matthiessen lands and the performer almost missed the landing.[58]

Professor Ed. R. Hutchinson, an aeronaut, performed August 27-September 2.[59] The balloon ascensions include shooting fireworks from the craft and parachuting from it.[60] A woman named Edith N. Reichard convinced Hutchinson to allow her and aeronaut Professor J. A. Kelley, of Philadelphia, to perform as well. She landed in telegraph lines and needed rescue on her first day, but she and her husband, a painter, planned to become professional aeronauts.[61]


Creatore's Italian band performed during the park's opening two weeks. Signor A. Liberati's Grand Military Band and the Operatic Concert Company of New York City performed the opening week of the theater that started May 14. The week was also called "Musical Festival Week."[62] The band had 50 musicians and vocalists.[3][63][64][65] Featured vocalists included Marie Valdes from the French Opera Company of New Orleans and Bernard Beque from the Metropolitan Opera Company of New York City.[66]

W.W. Prosser of Columbus returned to manage the theater for another season.[67] Musical performances were held twice a day.[2] Burt Cutler directed the park band starting on June 4.[68]

Creatore and his Italian Band returned to perform twice per day at the theater for two weeks starting Friday, June 9 as part of the park's Music Festival.[29] Soprano Mme. Barili performed with the band.[69]

The Kitties Band of Belleville, led by B. D. Gilliard[59], performed from August 27-September 4.[50][70] The band's choir had 20 members.[59]

Creatore's band returned for two performances on Sunday, September 24, 1905.[54]


List of Activities


  1. Ad. The Columbus Evening Dispatch. 16 April 1905. Pg. 7.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 "Opening of Olentangy." The Columbus Evening Dispatch. 16 April 1905. Pg. 6.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 "Olentangy Park Will Be Extended to Doddridge St." The Columbus Evening Dispatch. 18 February 1905. Pg. 7.
  4. Ad. The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 9 July 1905. Pg. 6.
  5. "For Next Year." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 20 August 1905. Pg. 6.
  6. "Olentangy Park." The Columbus Evening Dispatch. 9 September 1905. Pg. 4.
  7. "Olentangy Theater." The Columbus Evening Dispatch. 23 September 1905. Pg. 4.
  8. "Fights With Savage Wolf on River Bank." The Columbus Evening Dispatch. 29 April 1905. Pg. 1.
  9. "Senatorial Fight Reopens at Park." The Columbus Evening Dispatch. 8 August 1905. Pg. 2.
  10. "Bribery Charge Grows Out of the Senatorial Fight." The Columbus Evening Dispatch. 9 August 1905. Pg. 1.
  11. "Sue Olentangy Park." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 10 September 1905. Pg. 1.
  12. "Famous Exhibit of Water Colors." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 22 October 1905. Pg. 12.
  13. "P.O.S. of A. are Trying to Secure Minerva Park." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 2 July 1905. Pg. 2.
  14. "Dusenbury Purchases New Park Hotel Site." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 2 July 1905. Pg. 2.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 Barret, Richard E. "Olentangy Park: Four Decades of Fun." Columbus and Central Ohio Historian. Vol. 1. April 1984. Pg. 8.
  16. 16.0 16.1 "Geisha Girls are to be Attraction." The Columbus Evening Dispatch. 2 January 1905. Pg. 5.
  17. "Olentangy Park." The Columbus Evening Dispatch. 2 May 1905. Pg. 4.
  18. "Olentangy Park." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 7 May 1905. Pg. 6.
  19. The Billboard. 24 June 1905. Vol. 17 Issue 25. Pg. 8.
  20. "Saved From Death in Olentangy Dam Pool." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 21 May 1905. Pg. 1-2.
  21. "With Jaws Tightly Tied and His Feet Lashed Together." The Columbus Evening Dispatch. 10 April 1905. Pg. 6.
  22. "Olentangy Opening." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 23 April 1905. Pg. 6.
  23. "Olentangy Theater." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 8 July 1905. Pg. 4.
  24. "Little Children of the Poor Have Day of Pleasure." The Columbus Evening Dispatch. 6 July 1905. Pg. 1.
  25. "Opening Bill at Olentangy." The Columbus Evening Dispatch. 3 May 1905. Pg. 9.
  26. "Amusements: Olentangy Park." The Columbus Evening Dispatch. 5 May 1905. Pg. 4.
  27. The Sunday Columbus Dispatch. 7 May 1905. Pg. 7.
  28. Ad. The Columbus Evening Dispatch. 5 May 1905. Pg. 4.
  29. 29.0 29.1 "Olentangy Theater." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 8 June 1905. Pg. 4.
  30. 30.0 30.1 "Olentangy Park." The Columbus Evening Dispatch. 20 May 1905. Pg. 4.
  31. Ad. Columbus Evening Dispatch. 22 May 1905. Pg. 4.
  32. "Olentangy Theater." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 26 May 1905. Pg. 4.
  33. "Olentangy Theater." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 28 May 1905. Pg. 5.
  34. Ad. Columbus Evening Dispatch. 1 June 1905. Pg. 4.
  35. "News of the City." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 11 June 1905. Pg. 7.
  36. "Olentangy Theater." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 4 June 1905. Pg. 6.
  37. "Olentangy Theater." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 26 June 1905. Pg. 4.
  38. "Olentangy Theater." Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 2 July 1905. Pg. 5.
  39. "Olentangy Theater." Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 9 July 1905. Pg. 5.
  40. "Olentangy Theater." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 10 July 1905. Pg. 4.
  41. "Olentangy Theater." Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 16 July 1905. Pg. 5.
  42. "Olentangy Theater." Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 23 July 1905. Pg. 6.
  43. 43.0 43.1 "Olentangy Theater." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 24 July 1905. Pg. 4.
  44. "Olentangy Theater." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 25 July 1905. Pg. 4.
  45. 45.0 45.1 "Olentangy Theater." Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 30 July 1905. Pg. 6.
  46. "Olentangy Park." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 31 July 1905. Pg. 4.
  47. "Olentangy Theater." Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 6 August 1905. Pg. 6.
  48. "Olentangy Theater." Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 13 August 1905. Pg. 6.
  49. "Olentangy Theater." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 14 August 1905. Pg. 4.
  50. 50.0 50.1 50.2 "Olentangy Theater." Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 20 August 1905. Pg. 6.
  51. 51.0 51.1 "Olentangy Park." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 21 August 1905. Pg. 4.
  52. "Olentangy Theater." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 4 September 1905. Pg. 4.
  53. "Olentangy Park." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 6 September 1905. Pg. 4.
  54. 54.0 54.1 "Olentangy Park." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 10 September 1905. Pg. 6.
  55. "LAst Vaudeville of Season." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 17 September 1905. Pg. 6.
  56. Photo. Columbus Evening Dispatch. 13 August 1905. Pg. 6.
  57. "Olentangy Park." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 10 August 1905. Pg. 4.
  58. "Dog Trots Out on Deavolo's Track." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 23 August 1905. Pg. 5.
  59. 59.0 59.1 59.2 "Olentangy Park." Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 27 August 1905. Pg. 6.
  60. "Olentangy Park." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 29 August 1905. Pg. 4.
  61. "Mrs. Reichard had Trying Experience as an Aeronaut." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 4 September 1905. Pg. 6.
  62. "Olentangy Park." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 11 May 1905. Pg. 4.
  63. "Opening Bill at Olentangy." The Columbus Evening Dispatch. 3 May 1905. Pg. 9.
  64. "Amusements: Olentangy Park." The Columbus Evening Dispatch. 5 May 1905. Pg. 4.
  65. The Sunday Columbus Dispatch. 7 May 1905. Pg. 7.
  66. "Olentangy Park Theater." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 14 May 1905. Pg. 6-7.
  67. The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 2 April 1905. Pg. 6.
  68. Ad. The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 4 June 1905. Pg. 7.
  69. Photo. The Sunday Columbus Dispatch. 18 June 1905. Pg. 6.
  70. "Kilties Are Coming." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 24 August 1905. Pg. 7.