Ringling Brothers Circus Memorial

46.244118, -96.600518

Ringling Brothers Circus Memorial
182nd Avenue SE,
Wahpeton ND 58075
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On June 10, 1897, the Ringling Brothers Circus was setting up for an evening show in Wahpeton. The weather was rainy with thunderstorms. As the tent was raised, a bolt of lightning struck on of the main poles. 

Circus workers Charles Smith and Charles Walters were killed instantly, another man died a year later from his injuries and three others severely stunned. A dozen employees and performers were knocked to the ground unconscious. Fellow employees revived them by pounding on their feet and palms.

Walters and Smith are buried in Riverside Cemetery, south of Wahpeton on 182nd Ave. SE.

The monument, erected on the graves of these two gentlemen, is an exact replica of the stricken post, including a rope and chain similar to the one the men were using to hoist the big top.

Every history buff will want to make this stop.

Hours of Operation

  • Sunday : 12:00am - 12:00am
  • Monday : 12:00am - 12:00am
  • Tuesday : 12:00am - 12:00am
  • Wednesday : 12:00am - 12:00am
  • Thursday : 12:00am - 12:00am
  • Friday : 12:00am - 12:00am
  • Saturday : 12:00am - 12:00am

All Features

  • Open Year 'Round
Cost of Admission
  • Free Admission
Facility Amenities
  • Historic Marker
Guest Information
  • Family-Friendly