Circus Lightning Victims Memorial

Good morning, all!

Let’s go about this in a “Mysteries at the Museum” kind of way, since my current hotel has no Travel channel and I am missing that show tonight.

A small, innocuous cemetery sits on the edge of Wahpeton, ND. It is not labeled. According to the internet, its name is either RIVERSIDE CEMETERY or BOHEMIAN NATIONAL CEMETERY- 8086 Center St. S., Wahpeton, ND.

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It is sparse, surrounded by fields and a few houses, and easy to miss.

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… yet keep in mind that you do not WANT to miss it.

In the midst of the scattered grave markers is this unusual looking stone, shaped like a broken tent post.

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Let me tell you a short story I like to call “A Bad Day to be Named Charles.”

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On June 10, 1897, the Ringling Brothers circus was setting up in town when a storm hit. Lightning struck the main tent pole, causing it to collapse, injure several workers, and kill Charles Smith and Charles Walter (Charles Miller died from his injuries a year later). The two immediately-dead Charleses were buried the following day and the circus put together $400 to erect this monument. To this day, when circuses come to the area, they stop by the monument to pay their respects.

Today, the memorial sits in the cemetery and reminds us what risks these people often take.

Until next time, dahlings…

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