The Circus Comes to Brighton


In 1894, the circus came through Brighton and the Museum has an image of an elephant along Division (now Main) and the rest of the company in the parade as well.


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Brighton historian Albin Wagner, in his book "Images of America: Brighton", shows this image and notes: "This circus company may have been the one from the Chicago World's Fair that visited Brighton in 1894.  The circus parade complete with elephants is seen on Division North Main) Street looking north. 


The buildings on the right housed the Leffingwell Mercantile Company" [which rebuilt in 1916 as the building seen today at Main and Bridge]. Wagner continues by stating, "The trees on the northwest corner on the left surrounded the home of Dewey W. Strong [where 5 N Main is located now]. Note the dirt streets and the open irrigation ditch along the left side of the street. Water was brought from the Brighton Lateral of the Fulton Ditch one block east to water the lawns of houses along Division Street."

American circuses saw an extraordinary rise in popularity near the turn of the century and during the Gilded Age.  Acts like Barnum and Bailey's became household names, and many Americans would travel far to see different acts.

Artifact Focus

Brighton City Museum is always looking for new ways to tell the story of the community through the collections. This cross-section of the old evergreen that was used for the annual tree-lighting at Historic City Hall, was recently donated to us to enhance our collection. City forestry had cut a slice of the fallen timber as a keepsake.

Cross-section of the old evergreen

October 23, 1966

One of Brighton’s largest downtown fires happened on October 23, 1966. It was known as the “Toggery fire” and it happened along Main Street. In the background of the first image you can see Friedman's Grocery along Strong Street and even further back, a crowd gathers to watch outside of the Armory.

One of Brighton’s largest downtown fires happened on October 23, 1966.

The second photo shows the battled storefront from the ground level. The Toggery was in a commercial building that once stood at the corner of Main and Strong Streets.

The Homann Building

Below are a couple of photos showing 117 N Main, in our Downtown Historic District. The building's historic name is the Homann Building. A business called Jacob the Jeweler had a retail storefront in the early 1900s that you can see on the left-hand side of the photos included in this post. Today, if you walk by 117 N Main, the jewelry store would have been located in the section of the wall that has been bricked-up next door to Something Brewery. If you look closely at the awning featured in the second photo, you can see it read "Jacob the Jeweler."

The Homann Building - a couple of photos showing 117 N Main, in our Downtown Historic Dist

In 1981, a historian completed a cultural resource survey of this building and noted the following: "This structure was named for Herb Homann, one of Brighton's downtown businessmen. During the late 1920s, when Ray Benedict's furniture business occupied the building, it became known as the Benedict Furniture Company. Since the time of its construction the building has provided space for a variety of commercial purposes, including a car dealer, jewelry store, and candy shop."

Welcome to our Growing Grads Interns! 

We would like to welcome our two summer interns to the museum as part of the City’s Growing Gads intern program.  Alana DeMateo and Ellie Larsen have a love for history.  They will spend their summer at the museum learning the ins and outs of museum work as they help create their own special exhibition project for all to see.  Please welcome them when you visit the museum. They will finish their internship in August.

Alana and Elle posed with their favorite exhibits.

Alana and Elle posed with their favorite exhibits.