After the Robinson Circus was bought out by another circus around 1916, Tillie and 3 of the other elephants remained in Terrace Park as retirees.
I first learned the story of Tillie in a book called "A Place Called Terrace Park". Tillie and her other Asian elephants comrades actually roamed the streets of Terrace Park at times and even assisted in installing utility poles, hauling heavy items and other various odd jobs and sometimes would even get into general mischief around town. I am picturing something like the Flintstones here but I don't think she was ever used to vacuum carpets.
When Tillie died at the age of 65 (although the circus claimed the unlikely age of 120), it was a pretty big civic event and everyone came out. Children were even let out of school to attend. It is rumored that her legs were cut off in order to bury her or in order remove the body from the barn or perhaps to fit her in the grave that was not big enough. It is more likely they were removed simply for monetary gain as another story confirms that after the funeral attendees left the scene her legs were removed to be re-used sold for products such as umbrella stands or tables. While she was loved by her community, remember that this was 1932 when things like this were generally acceptable. At one time the Cincinnati Art Museum had one of these umbrella stands but I'm not sure if it is still there.
|reenactment of Tillies funeral|
In the book I mentioned previously there was a fuzzy black and white picture that showed some sort of memorial marker for Tillie but it didn't say exactly where it was located but I thought it might be near the house. Since there were were some geocaches in the area and other historical items nearby I decided it was worth checking out. The kids and I mosied over to Circus Place in Terrace Park on August 7th 2010 to check it all out.
|the Tillie Memorial (with her exaggerated age)|
If you are ever in Terrace Park, stop by and pay your condolences to Tillie or if you are in the market for a new home, as of this writing the impressive Robinson house is again for sale for a cool $1.2 million.
|Robinson House - The T shaped window is for Tillie|
3/10/2017: Updated some of the dead links in the post