“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Sarasota in Sarasota County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)

The Wallendas

The Wallendas Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tim Fillmon, February 27, 2016
1. The Wallendas Marker
The Wallenda circus troupe originated in Germany, where its members developed a daring highwire act. Early in their careers they achieved some fame touring with different circuses in Europe, but Karl Wallenda became convinced that circus operators in Europe failed to appreciate his artistry. Karl, Herman Wallenda, Helen Kreis, and Joe Greiger signed with the Santo Y Artigas Circus in Cuba in 1927. In 1928, John Ringling observed the Wallendas' performance in Cuba and signed them to a contract with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

The Wallendas' first engagement with the Ringling Circus occurred at Madison Square Garden in New York City on April 5, 1928. The troupe, billed as "Europe's Latest Sensation," was honored as a solo act. The performance was a tremendous success and the Wallendas became celebrities.

The Wallendas' fame, showmanship, and daring skill ensured them a prominent place in the Ringling Circus and they continued touring with the circus during the season, which ran approximately from April to October. During the winter the Wallendas frequently performed for other circuses.
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After the 1928 circus season, the Wallendas came to Sarasota, winter location of the Ringling Circus, and rented a home. In 1937, Karl and Helen, who had married, purchased a home at 1623 Arlington Street. The Wallendas property, which included several adjoining lots, became a practice area and provided a place for their colleagues to rest and socialize.

The Wallendas toured with the Ringling Circus until 1946. In 1947, the family founded the traveling Wallenda Circus. Thereafter, they expanded their repertoire and from 1947-1962 their prime act was the seven-person pyramid.

In the late 1970s, NBC television crews descended on the Wallendas' home to film a movie about the Wallendas. The special, "The Great Wallendas," aired in February, 1978, and increased interest in the Wallendas and their act.

In March, 1978, Karl Wallenda fell to his death in San Juan, Puerto Rico while walking the high wire. Shortly thereafter, Helen sold the property on Arlington Street and moved to northeast Sarasota. The Wallenda family symbolizes the ideal that "the show must go on," and their daring and showmanship made them one of the greatest acts in circus history.
Erected 2001 by Sarasota County Historical Commission.
Topics. This
The Wallendas Marker Reverse image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tim Fillmon, February 27, 2016
2. The Wallendas Marker Reverse
historical marker is listed in this topic list: Entertainment.
Location. 27° 19.043′ N, 82° 32.241′ W. Marker is in Sarasota, Florida, in Sarasota County. Marker is at the intersection of Arlington Street and South Orange Avenue, on the left when traveling east on Arlington Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1623 Arlington Street, Sarasota FL 34239, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. De Sota Park / Logan and Currin, Inc. (approx. ¼ mile away); a different marker also named De Sota Park / Logan and Currin, Inc. (approx. 0.4 miles away); Sarasota's First Post Office (approx. half a mile away); Avondale (approx. 0.6 miles away); In Loving Memory of of Sue Anna Kauffman (approx. 0.7 miles away); Mr. Grover Yancy (approx. 0.7 miles away); Selby House (approx. 0.7 miles away); Selby Gardens (approx. 0.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Sarasota.
The Wallendas Marker and House image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tim Fillmon, February 27, 2016
3. The Wallendas Marker and House
<i>K. Wallenda - Truppe</i> image. Click for full size.
Postcard image courtesy of the New York Public Library, circa 1926
4. K. Wallenda - Truppe
A German-origin postcard depicting the Wallenda's prior to their emigration from Germany.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 21, 2018. It was originally submitted on March 4, 2016, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida. This page has been viewed 718 times since then and 81 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on March 4, 2016, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida.   4. submitted on May 4, 2018. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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Jul. 19, 2024