Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Society Circus at Fort Myer

At the Shorpy Historic Photo Archive, members have identified the above photo as a Society Circus show at Rosslyn's Fort Myer about 1922.  General Pershing attended a similar performance on March 31, 1922.  It included "monkey drills, trick riding and horse jumping, chariot race, cossack drill, artillery drill, tandems and ladies' ride."[1] .  The flag pictured is the company guidon for Troop E, 3rd US Cavalry (the Old Guard see Kirk's comment -ed.).

A Society Circus was held at Conmy Hall (Fort Myer's ceremonial hall) every Friday and Saturday during winter months from 1919 to 1941.  A historic walking tour of Fort Myer this past October explored Conmy Hall and discussed the Society Circus.  According to the walk brochure, "Members of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment would find themselves in various historical uniforms such as those of the Roman Legions, Genghis Kahn's Mongols [whose descendants now run a school in Rosslyn -ed.], Custer's 7th Cavalry and Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders."[2]

Learn more at walking tours of historic Fort Myer upcoming this spring.

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[1] The quote is from "Society Will Entertain at Fort Myer Circus," Washington Post, Mar. 31, 1922.  That article refers to a circus performance on that day (a Friday).  The photo is dated Apr. 4, 1923.   That date, however, was a Wednesday.  Circus performances occurred on Fridays and Saturdays.

[2] The Society Circus was a type of event rather than a specific group.  Here's a Society Circus photo from a performance in Long Branch, NJ in 1909.


Old Guard Museum said...

This image is the 3d Cavalry, but it is NOT the Old Guard. The Old Guard did not arrive at Ft. Myer until April 1948. The 3d Cav and 3d Infantry are unrelated units.

Douglas Galbi said...

Thanks for the correction.

Unknown said...

Fort Myer is NOT in Rosslyn. Fort Myer, a US Army Post, is part of what was the Custis Lee estate of 1,100 acres. Built during the US Civil War and first known as Fort Whipple it later included another US Civil War era lunette - Fort Cass.