902 Gwinn Street
Medina, New York
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Circus Pioneer Andrew Downey McFee 1863-1930
Big three ring circus owner wintered animals at home here. Pioneered moving circus with trucks.
*NOTE: Both Downey and McFee are spelled incorrectly on the marker. Correct spelling is Andrew (Downie) McPhee.
Orleans County Historical Association — Date unknown
What was there
The home of circus pioneer, Andrew Downie McPhee. He was the first to create the idea of a moveable circus by means of trucks of all shapes and sizes. At least some of his wild animals were housed here. A circus elephant was reportedly buried in the back yard!
What is there now
A private residence stands at this location on a quiet residential street. It is uncertain whether the structures are original to McPhee, though the current home appears to be from that era. There is now a football field directly behind the property.
- Bandwagon magaine article detailing a portion of Downie’s career
- Seats for a show in 1905 were “25, 35 and 50 cents. No Higher”
- Both “Downey” and “McFee” are spelled incorrectly on this marker. The correct spelling is Andrew (Downie) McPhee. His birth name was Andrew McPhee. It is not known when he added the “Downie” and dropped the “McPhee”.
- Andrew (born in Ontario, Canada) and his wife, Christena are buried in Medina NY’s Boxwood Cemetery.
- Nice little biography from the Medina Register.
- He buried a circus elephant in his back yard.
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