Great Wallace Shows Circus Train-Wreck Memorial – Durand, Michigan - Atlas Obscura

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Great Wallace Shows Circus Train-Wreck Memorial

This memorial honors the performers who died when two trains collided.  


On August 6th, 1903 two train cars carrying members of the Great Wallace Shows Circus collided in the Durand railroad yards. The incident killed 23 people along with several animals. Nine of those killed were never identified and lie buried in Lovejoy Cemetery. The animals, including an elephant named “Maude,” were buried at the scene of the accident.

An impressive obelisk memorial stands near the entrance of the cemetery and reads:

“In memory of the Unknown Dead. Who lost their lives in the Railroad Wreck of the Great  Wallace Shows. August 6th, 1903.”

The monument itself is flanked by other headstones that are also unknown. The stones are in bad condition and it’s possible some have been completely eroded by Michigan’s brutal winters. 

Know Before You Go

The memorial is about 15 feet from the cemetery entrance on the left-hand side. The rural cemetery is not gated and is inconveniently situated in the middle of nowhere.

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February 15, 2021

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