History · In The Background · Pacific Northwest · Vancouver

In The Background: William Doss

Screen Shot 2013-03-19 at 12.47.19 AMIn 1908, Recreation Park at the corner of Smithe and Homer played host to the circus. The banners advertise such side show attractions as Mungo, a Maori Chief, The Randalls, champion sharpshooters and the intriguing sounding William Doss, the Human Telescope.

Here’s a 1902 New York Times article describing Mr Doss’ abilities: “Wille Doss, the Human Telescope who can stretch himself nearly 18 inches, was standing beside one of the giraffes and created a great source of amusement when he stretched his neck 2 inches higher than the giraffe’s two peaky looking little ears. The giraffe was so mortified at being beaten in such a contest that he refused to eat any supper.”

Doss entertained people in over 20 countries and made his home in Chicago like many circus performers.

Note that whoever painted the banner spelt Doss’ name wrong.

Vancouver Archives photo CVA 677-388

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