Everybody loves the circus, from three to ninety-three. From the cotton candy to the clowns, the folks flying through the air on the trapeze to the tigers and their handlers, it's nothing but 100% fun.

That is, until the elephant gets grumpy. In fact, beyond grumpy.

This elephant was downright mad!

It was about a hundred years ago in May 1916 that the circus came to the South Dakota town of Elkton and featured a five ton (normally) docile elephant named Hero. Except, Hero was not a happy camper for some reason.

Hero went what some folks said was 'insane', destroyed a bunch of circus equipment and thundered off into the countryside.  Can you imagine went some of the farmers thought when they looked up and saw an elephant on the horizon? Hmmm...

Anyway, off the townspeople went chasing mad 'ol Hero. Now this is going to sound mean and certainly not politically correct, and these days he may have been taken down with some sort of tranquilizer gun. But this was, as they say, the old days. And so it was bullets and buckshot, which only served to make 'ol Hero even angrier. But finally he was 'brought down' after about 12 hours on the run.

Turns out his bones were put on display at far-away Vermillion, but the Community Museum in Elton does have some interesting relics from the day there was a mad elephant in town, including the gun that fired the fatal shot and a travel bag made out of part of 'ol Hero.

So when you traversing the great state of South Dakota, pull on into Elkton, have a nice meal and coffee and ask the folks about the tale of when the mad elephant came to town.

RoadsideAmerica Dot Com Contributed To This Article


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