Gandini’s Circus

85
City/Town: Edmond
Location Class: Amusement Park
Year Built: 1900's
Year Abandoned: N/A
Status: AbandonedGutted
Photojournalist: Cody CooperJustin Tyler MooreMichael SchwarzMary Evans

Heading down busy Kelly Ave in downtown Edmond, passing an Arby’s and a gas station, you wouldn’t think anything of the obscure dirt road blocked off by a yellow fence.

At first you may just notice a barren field and nothing else, but it doesn’t take long to realize the full history of this strange, abandoned plot. Concrete foundations checker the tan grass while rusty metal poles protrude out of the bushes and trees. There are several houses that have

long since been vacated and later vandalized by passers-by. Further into the acreage, hidden behind some thick brush, you’ll start getting an idea of what this place used to be.

Gandini’s Circus went on for some time between the 1900’s and 1930, touring across various parts of the states. Fragments of the circus still linger around including 4 or 5 trailers where the clowns, acrobats and animals were housed. Even the cages, large and small, are still there– discarded when the circus apparently disbanded. Although many of the trailers are burnt from the inside out by either arson or a terrible accident, you can still find fliers, popcorn bags and soda cups along with assorted pieces of memorabilia throughout the area.

What makes the area so spooky is not the place’s background, but it’s lack of obvious history. I’ve tried to search the Internet for information on the circus but could only find a few pages vaguely relating to what it was. Digging through the ashes in and around the trailers I was able to find a few old fliers in tact that shed some light on the place, but still not enough to make this area any less frightening.

The real scare comes at night, walking through this barren place, maybe tripping over an old cougar cage or deflated clown ball, when the full scope of what ‘haunted’ really boils down to. Afterall, there may be nothing more dreadful than a haunted circus burned to the ground. A place does not necessarily require ghosts to be haunted, but if it’s scary enough, maybe we’re the ones who create them.

-Written by Robert Cole

Pulled from here

Highlighted comment by CIRCUS KID with more details:

“Gandini’s Circus couldn’t make it thru the Great Depression. The assets were bought up by Howard W. Suesz in 1943 and a new circus was formed – CLYDE BROTHER’ CIRCUS. There were no Clydes. The production company operated inside (arena) and outside (tent) shows. In the late 40’s / early 50’s the tent show was called HAGEN BROTHERS (again, no Hagens). The Hagen show played up to the early 60’s. Howard Suesz focused almost exclusively on the Shriners Organization. By the mid 50’s the circus was playing a number of Canadian Shrine dates yearly. In 1960 the Clyde Brothers Circus had to change the name of it’s Canadian show to Rex Bros. Circus due to competition from the Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus that also played in Ontario that year. Howard Suesz had a daughter who attended OSU. She met William Jack there. They were students of Dr. Robert Lacy, the head of the Radio and Television. After they graduated, William Jack began helping his father in law run the circus. In 1969, Dr. Lacy bought a half interest in the circus. At that time, the circus had its office on Britton Road, just east of Western. It later moved to the big White House at 63rd and Kelley. Lacy left the circus in 73 for other business ventures. From the late 60’s thru the mid 70’s Clyde Bros. Circus operated two units, the Red and the Blue and played a number of sponsored dates through Ontario, Quebec and the USA and ventured in to Mexico from time to time. In 1976 the Blue unit was the Clyde Bros. Circus and the Carden & Johnson International Circus was referred to as the Red unit. That year the Carden & Johnson International Circus bought the Clyde Bros. Circus and it’s contracted dates. It was after that the circus left town. Lion Trainer Jose Barrada ended up with the real estate Jose and his family operated the ALCAPULCO restaurant in Edmond for a while. Jose’s oldest son Jorge, got the property from his dad. The land has been seemingly abandoned for decades.

In the early 70’s, on the property, there were 6 elephants, 11 lions, 7 tigers, 3 camels, 3 bears, chimps, a herd of ponies and a herd llama, and numerous domestic pets. The lion trainer, Jose Barrada lived in the house with his wife and three sons. His two oldest sons, Jorge and Chino trained the chimps and bears. Chino was also an award winning tightrope performer. His wife had been an aerial performer. The tiger trainer, Lou Reagan lived in a trailer on premises. He also worked the elephants, camels, llamas and ponies. Other hired hands lived on premises. Two primary barns had three rings. Two in one and the tiger arena was in another. On the road, the majority of the acts were contracted for the season.”

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ShawnMC13
ShawnMC13
9 years ago

Someone please let me know how to access this or get ahold of the land owner. I'd love to go treasure hunting there, thank you!

Justin
Justin
Reply to  ShawnMC13
6 months ago

The property is now currently for sale. May/2020

Kelsey
Kelsey
9 years ago

I used to live in one of the surrounding neighborhoods near the "abandoned circus". I was around 6-7 years old and would go outside with the rest of the neighborhood kids between 5-6 PM and would wait to hear the lions roar. I was told that it was an old circus training ground and they would hold lions and tigers and other animals there to train them. It sounds strange, but my parents have heard it as well. I don't know if anyone has any information on this or not. I actually went out there when I was about 17… Read more »

Dillan
Dillan
9 years ago

Went 3 months ago and although there really wasn't anything left, I managed to find a circus ticket. Pretty cool.

Micah
Micah
Reply to  Dillan
6 years ago

I went yesterday and there was an abandoned house, rain shelter, 4 trailers and a huge chunk of metal that I assume is a collapsed water tower. You have to walk through the tall grass across the field, you can see foot trails where others have been exploring. Try again.

Jeff
Jeff
Reply to  Micah
3 years ago

Any idea on what the address might be ?

macfurdith
macfurdith
9 years ago

Pictures of the found memorabilia would be very cool. None of the pictures posted here indicate "circus".

Elyse Pruet
Elyse Pruet
10 years ago

Does anyone know how to contact the owner of the land that Gandini's is located on? I'm doing a circus themed photo shoot and was wondering…….If any of you know that'd be great.. Thanks.

brett
brett
10 years ago

i am fixing to make a trip out there i will post when i get back

Jessica
Jessica
Reply to  brett
10 years ago

Where exactly is it as? I live in edmond and want to go but i cant find where it is? Thanks!:)

H_O_O_P_S
H_O_O_P_S
Reply to  Jessica
8 years ago

did you ever find it? if not let me know and i will get you the location 🙂 this is brett that was my old screen name on here

bob
bob
10 years ago

a group of 4 friends of mine went last nite about midnite. they say ITS NOT EMPTY! they kept hearing metal and rustling far away getting closer. as they slowly made their way out they turned around and saw a big dark figure of a person that started running at them very quickly, and chased them to the gate. the figure never yelled nor had a flashlight like a security gaurd or cop would have done. someone or people live their. if u have been there you will know there isnt anywhere to take residence. we plan on another trip… Read more »

Luke
Luke
Reply to  bob
5 years ago

A few months ago, I went out there with three friends and the same exact thing happened. My friend said she heard something behind us and a tall, completely black figure ran at me from the trail leading to the big pavilion. On my first trip there I also heard a sound like rusty metal scraping together. And on my second trip, another friend of mine saw the figure walk out of the trailer with the metal bars in it and just stand and look at him.

Leslie
Leslie
Reply to  bob
5 years ago

It was homeless people. They love in those trailers out there

Kendon
Kendon
10 years ago



That link is a youtube video of a guy that did a short movie at this location. The video is not about the circus but it captures a lot of great scenes of what the circus kind of looks like today!

saranearguthrie
10 years ago

I was there this morning and while it was neat and creepy it was not as wonderful as i had hoped. Too many kids have torn the place apart. There was a weird bone in one of the trailers. I was thinking maybe a cow but realized…. there's no cows out there. :p

Debbie
Debbie
10 years ago

If you think this place is pretty creepy and cool now, the first time I saw it, I was 15 years old and am now 27. All of the original trapeze was there and all of the buildings were still there. The water and feed troughs were there and alot of the old flyers were left on the ground. All of the cages were there and chains for the animals were all original and left abandoned. The entire place looks so different from what it used to look like. I really regret not taking any photos of the dead circus… Read more »

Jessica
Jessica
10 years ago

So how exactly do you get there?

Nikole Sturm
Nikole Sturm
11 years ago

wow, the pictures take of the vehicles outside are pretty cool. i've passed that area several times and had no idea that was there. you guys rock 😀

Nicole
Nicole
11 years ago

I have plenty of pictures of this place and am hoping to find out a little more about the history of this place. I will try to submit them to you soon! This is a really interesting place!

Dustin Welch
11 years ago

The Circus is called Cylde bros shriner circus and the hagen bros were also there!!!! Was running in 1955 to about 70 ish!!! I can tell by the pop top RC can I found there they stopped making them in like 1973.
https://digital.library.okstate.edu/oktoday/1950s/

Page 8 has an add for the Hagen bros circus!!!

greeneyedbosoxlover
Reply to  Dustin Welch
10 years ago

The Clyde Bros. Circus was started in 1943 by Howard W. Suesz. By the early 1950's the show was playing a number of United States Shrine dates, and by the mid-1950s began playing a number of Canadian Shrine dates. Both indoor and tent dates were played. In 1949 Suesz started a tent show called Hagen Bros. that was operating until 1961. There was no connection to Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. However in 1960 the Clyde Bros. Circus had to change its title to Rex Bros. Circus for it's Canadian dates due to competition from the Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus that also… Read more »

John
John
Reply to  Dustin Welch
10 years ago

Actually, they quit making pop-top cans in the early 80s, not the early 70s.

kim
kim
Reply to  Dustin Welch
8 years ago

I grew up in edmond, we could hear the lion and elephants at night. we used to sneak in the back way and watch animals and "smoke" dont thing its hauntd, just old place in middle of town…look around and you will find popcorn bags and fliers

Sanyben
Sanyben
Reply to  Dustin Welch
8 years ago

Thank you for sharing that link! The story was fascinating!

AbandonedOK Team
11 years ago

As soon as the weeds die out, we hope to go back and get some photos of the flyers and tickets… We were only here for a short time, and didn't get to explore the whole area. If you have photos you want to share, you can post them in the forum!

Huskybaseball
Huskybaseball
11 years ago

Also, the picture from the google shot up above shows a big building in the middle, and another smaller building to the north. Neither of those are there now. The house farthest east, and the big building to the west, closest to the 5 trailers, are the only buildings still standing.

Huskybaseball
Huskybaseball
11 years ago

I visited this place today, after my friend told me about it. I went with a few friends and walked around, looking at all of the old abandoned stuff. It was awesome, and I'm definitely going to go back when it isn't raining to introduce more people to this awesome, hidden place, knowing that they never realized it was there when they passed on the common edmond street.

super woman
super woman
11 years ago

i am not gonna lie this place is pretty cool, we visited this circus yesterday but we did not find any fliers or tickets or old pictures and i am extremely interested if seeing these…. where might i find them(in the house, in the blue trailer, in the white truck or where???)

Magdalena
Magdalena
11 years ago

I have been to the 'haunted circus,' as I was introduced to it by my teenage daughter.

Note: in Edmond there is no Arby's on Kelly. There is an Arby's on Santa Fe and one on Broadway. Furthermore, Kelly doesn't go through downtown Edmond.

Chelsey West
Chelsey West
11 years ago

Also there are old trailers in the back in the woods, where me and my friends have found circus tickets and old notes and pictures.

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