“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Lincoln in Grafton County, New Hampshire — The American Northeast (New England)

The Bear Show

The Bear Show Marker image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, August 22, 2016
1. The Bear Show Marker
Inscription. During World War II, the small roadside attraction started by Edward P. and Florence M. Clark, known as Ed Clark's Eskimo Sled Dog Ranch, fell onto disrepair. When their sons, Edward M. and W. Murray Clark returned home from the war, Edward from the Merchant Marine and Murray from the Navy, interest in the sled dogs was waning. Although these beautiful dogs of the North had been the primary attraction since the inception of the business, the Clark brothers determined a change was needed to revitalize their family enterprise. The brothers had been raised with sled dogs. Their young lives had been filled with feeding, cleaning, trsining, and excersising the rugged Eskimo Dog. Training bears, therefore, came naturally to them. In 1935 a triple litter known as Toggle, Soggle and Woggle had arrived at the ranch. Young Edward and Murray helped their mother Florence raise the cubs in their kitchen. Although the Clark family had been bear keepers since 1930 when a friend named Al Morris displayed his bears at the Ranch, none of the early bears were highly trained.

And so it was in 1949 that four young cubs were purchased to be trained, and the bear show was born. Ebony and Midnight, the most capable of the group, were destined to be two of the finest show bears of all time. The bears performed such tricks as turning around, rolling over,
The Bear Show Marker image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, August 22, 2016
2. The Bear Show Marker
This is the right panel of the three shown. The other panels are Living with Bears and Habitats/Enrichment.
and drinking fresh cow's milk from a can.

Edward and Murray alternated performing with the bears. Murray described the early bear shows like this:
"My father would get our attention [and say] ‘I have a few people who would like to see the bears perform; I wil try to get e few more as they came along.’ It was a 15-20 minute bear show - if it was that long. At one point in the early days we performed every 40 minutes. You announce that you are going to have a performance inside. You would start with a group of 8 [audience members and] maybe end up with 15. We say, ‘It's only a quarter.’ We would tell them to come in for free; it they were satisfied they would pay on the way out."

In 1954, to accommodate growing audiences, a 40' show ring was built. People could now be comfortably seated and see the bears at close range. In 1969 a second deck was added to the bear ring for additional seating. Edward M. Clark performed the bear show from 1949 until 1972, when he began a long line of successful ventures.

Maureen S. Clark, joined her father W. Murray in the ring in 1988. Eight years later, her brother Murray A. Clark, joined the show. W. Murray Clark performed from 1949 though 2003, and then attended almost every show through October 18, 2009. He worked alongside his bear friends for an astounding 54 years.
Erected by Clark's Trading Post.
Location. 44° 2.871′ N, 71° 41.144′ W. Marker is in Lincoln, New Hampshire, in Grafton County. Marker is at the intersection of Daniel Webster Highway (U.S. 3) and Connector Road on Daniel Webster Highway. Click for map. Marker is at the rear entrance to the main gift shop by the bear show arena; admission fee required. Marker is at or near this postal address: 110 Daniel Webster Highway, Lincoln NH 03251, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The First Passenger Carrying Aerial Tramway in North America (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Borasaurus (about 800 feet away); Quinten E. Mulleavey (approx. ¼ mile away); Clark's Bridge (approx. ¼ mile away); Betty and Barney Hill Incident (approx. 2.6 miles away); Franconia Range (approx. 3.4 miles away); A Bit of History (approx. 3.4 miles away); The Flume (approx. 3.4 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Lincoln.
Also see . . .  Clark's Trading Post. (Submitted on August 27, 2016, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York.)
Categories. AnimalsEntertainment
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York. This page has been viewed 67 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York. This page was last revised on August 27, 2016.
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