Hippotheatron in United States


Owner 1872-1872: Phineas Barnum
Country United States


Key People 1873-1873: Ferdinand Tourniaire (animal trainer)


Elephant department

Head keepers
of elephants

Elephant keepers
Random literature

Hippotheatron, United States .

Comments / picturesThe Hippotheatron was an entertainment venue in New York built for large-scale circus and equestrian performances although ballets, dramas and pantomimes were also held there. Opened in 1864, it was destroyed by fire in 1872 which resulted in the death of most of the animals in the menagerie.

The Hippotheatron was destroyed by fire on 24 December 1872. The blaze was first discovered at four o'clock in the morning having been caused by an escape of gas. Despite the gas main being turned off jets of flame were still seen shooting out from among the ruined structure. Fire engines were quickly on the scene.[8] The walls of the building, which were of thin corrugated iron, became quickly heated by the fierce flames at their base, and helped not only to spread flames, but engendered so great a heat that the firemen could not enter the building.

During the winter months the Barnum circus came off the road and the animals were housed at the Hippotheatron.[9] When the fire broke out the animals in their cages began to show signs of fear, and their excitement increased with the noise and heat of the fire. Charles Wells, a keeper among those who slept on the premises near the animal cages, said that he and two others went to the giraffes' cage to break them out but the fire had reached the cage and the men only succeeded in getting a giraffe partly out when it was caught by the flames and sank to the ground.[8] Other animals dashed with terrific force against the sides of their cages, vainly endeavoring to regain their liberty. There were three elephants in the building, confined by chains fastened to the floor.

As the fire grew hotter the bears, lions, and leopards were seen with their paws endeavoring to wrench the iron bars of their cages asunder, and, as the flames or heat prevented their keepers from rescuing them, they were abandoned to their fate. None of the keepers had the keys of any of the cages, otherwise some of the animals could have been saved. All the performers lost their wardrobes, and all the dresses which had been made for Bluebeard were likewise consumed. A number of valuable trained dogs belonging to Charles White were also burned.

The rescued elephants were Betsy, Janette, and the baby elephant Gypsy.

Hippotheatron in United States United+States

References for records about Hippotheatron

Recommended Citation

Koehl, Dan (2023). Hippotheatron, Elephant Encyclopedia. Available online at https://www.elephant.se/location2.php?location_id=3601. (archived at the Wayback machine)

Sources used for this article is among others:

Litterature about Hippotheatron

Recommended Litterature:

Links to websites about Hippotheatron

Recommended Links on Internet:

Search more with Google for HippotheatronThe link will automatically include Hippotheatron and open a new browser window.

Search more on the Internet Web for HippotheatronThe link will automatically include Hippotheatron and open a new browser window

Categories circus in United States | United States Portal | northamerica Portal

About this documentThis document was updated: 2022-04-08 14:54:41 with valid HTML5 Valid CSS

Elephant Encyclopedia and database

Established 1995
Established 2006
Your ip:
Kulen Elephant Forest