A group of people sit and stand around an ornate carriage with a ferris wheel in the background

In the 1920s, regular folks didn’t travel much because it was too expensive. But Texans have always loved a good show, so entertainers came to the people. The H.W. Campbell United Show was on a 40-week tour of the South when it rolled into the North Texas town of Breckenridge in 1921 with a band, carnival rides, a Wild West show, and animal acts. Such traveling shows—circuses, vaudeville acts, theater companies, and even baseball teams—toured from town to town, setting up stages and arenas, performing, and then packing up and moving along. Based in Augusta, Georgia, the H.W. Campbell United Show traveled on 25 train cars and, per a recruiting advertisement of the day, employed “horse riders, a boss hostler, electricians, a trainmaster, polers, workingmen, door talkers and grinders, and a lot superintendent.” Featuring performers of diverse backgrounds, companies like the H.W. Campbell United Show brought worldly entertainment to small-town Texas.

Know of any fascinating vintage Texas photographs? Send copies or ideas to [email protected]

From the December 2021 issue
The June 2024 cover of Texas Highways: Treasures from the Coast

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