Medicine Shows, Gypsies and Chautauqua's Submitted by Rose Remschner, 2006 There was a pasture enclosed by a barbed wire fence. The village calaboose (jail) stood on the Southwest corner, a small two cell building built of two plies of hard lumber. In 1894 trees were set out after a very heated discussion in the Village Board which was evenly divided. Nearly every decision had to be made by the president of the board, and one street fight over the trees between two businessmen resulted from the improvement conflict. Later in the 1920's and `30's traveling medicine shows camped in the park in the summer time and provided entertainment for the community. One had an Indian Chief called Chief Redfox. He had a young daughter (6 or 7 years old) named Shirley. The shows consisted of Indian dancers, animal tricks, singing etc. They sold a bottle of medicine that cured anything that ailed you. Some said it was just whiskey mostly. They also sold bags of candy with little prizes in them. Around the same time bands of gypsies traveled Route 66. Sometimes they came in town and stopped in the park. When they did all the children were called home and doors were locked. There were many stories about them and people were afraid of them. Later Chautauqua's were prominent. They brought the best talent in the land to our little town. In the 1930's hobos were numerous. They got off the freight trains and somehow the houses were marked where they got the most food. Many people in Towanda fed them when they came around. They usually camped along the railroad south of town near the stockyards.
Page 1 of 1
Click tabs to swap between content that is broken into logical sections.
Illinois State University, Milner Library, Normal, IL, 61790 - for the Towanda Area Historical Society/Towanda District Library
Towanda Area Historical Society/Towanda District Library
The images in the Towanda Area Historical Society digital library may be viewed, downloaded, and printed for personal or educational use, but any commercial use is prohibited, without permission. Questions may be directed to the historical society at firstname.lastname@example.org or through the Towanda Illinois District Library at (309)728-2176.