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CARSON & BARNES CIRCUS
PONTIAC, MICHIGAN
1999

In 1999 CARSON & BARNES played Downtown Pontiac, Michigan at what is known as "The Phoenix Center."

Numerous circus vehicles can be seen parked on the east side of the big top.

Off to the right is southbound Widetrack Drive. The cranes in the background are working on a new railroad bridge over Orchard Lake Avenue. The original was so low that it was often struck by high trucks.

Here's a closer view of the giant 5 ring circus tent, touted at the time to be the largest one in the world.

This is the sort of colorful vehicle that we like to see when a circus comes to town.

The Snake Show in the process of being set up.

The Snake Show has been assembled. It will open as soon as the circus audience begins to arrive on the lot.

A member of the Menagerie enjoys breakfast.

One of six performing Friesian Stallion liberty horses.

A decade earlier, when D.R. Miller was at the helm of Carson & Barnes, it boasted a herd of 25 elephants. I know. I counted them when the show played Cheboygan, Michigan. Due to higher fuel and labor costs, it has now become economically impractical to transport so many pachyderms. That's why you don't see quite so many of the huge beasts in this photo.

Baby Jennie, and her mother Isa have their own separate canopied compound.

Jennie is shown here with her special rubber toy.

Jennie was a rapid learner. During the 2002 season she was a very talented little performer.

By 1999, D.R. Miller's daughter Barbara and Son-In-Law Geary Byrd had taken over the day to day management of Circus operations. This is a view of the Byrd's home, away from home.

Even when living on a blacktop parking area, it is nice to have a bit of greenery around. This well watered plant is situated at the entrance to the Byrd's mobile residence.

During 1999, although he was in semi-retirement, D. R. Miller enjoyed traveling with C&B in this deluxe motor home.

The man in the yellow cap is D.R. Miller who, with his wife Isla, operated the Carson & Barnes Circus for many years. He is accompanied by three Canadian circus fans who were visiting him in Pontiac on an almost 100 degree day.

Here is a closeup of Mr. Miller.

D.R. peers into the big tent. It had to be that size in order to contain 5 rings filled with performing animals and humans. Playing mostly rural areas and a few not so big cities, Dorey Miller wanted to give his audiences the feel of what it was like when the large old time circuses came to town. About two months after this photo was taken, D. R. Miller passed away on the circus lot in McCook, Nebraska. You can read much more about him by clicking: HERE

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