Trixie — the Equine Wonder, Battle Abbey, and The Human Laundry

Princess Trixie

Princess Trixie was The Equine Paradox, an educated horse who could count, add, multiply, make change in her custom-built cash register, and duplicate the colors of the dress of a woman chosen from the audience, using cloth swatches kept in a basket.

You can see her tent behind the Circle Swing in the colorized postcard:

Battle Abbey

After the park’s first season they decided to replace the tent that TRixie performed in with a permanent structure. It was painted to resemble a stonework building and was called “Battle Abbey”. There had been a “Battle Abbey” at the St. Louis 1904 exposition, which featured six large cycloramas depicting famous battle scenes — Yorktown, Gettysburg, Custer’s Last Stand, New Orleans, Buena Vista, and the battle of Manila. There were other “Battle Abbeys” built or proposed around the country. All of them ultimately derived their name from the Benedictine Abbey in the English town of Battle in East Sussex, which was built on the site of the Battle of Hastings.

Wonderland’s version was much smaller. It measured forty feet by seventy feet and was twenty feet high.

This was too small for the huge cycloramas, but Battle Abbey featured a series of war paintings by one of the premier artists of cycloramas, Paul Dominique Philippoteaux. His most famous cyclorama, depicting the Battle of Gettysburg, still exists.

For some reason, many of the paintings inside depicted the Civil War career of General Ulysses S. Grant, such as The Battle of Belmont, Missouri; The Capture of Fort Donelson; Shiloh; The Peace terms at Vicksburg; and The Charge at Corinth.

Grant at Fort Donelson by Philippoteaux.

The paintings were insured for $50,000. In addition to the Honor Guard outside, there was an interpreter inside the building, Past Commander S.J. Simmons of the Grand Army of the Republic.

The Human Laundry

The next year the building underwent an enormous change, becoming The Human Laundry. This was a franchised attraction, as the following ad shows. It first appeared in 1907, but branched out to many more in the summer of 1908:

Note the attendant in front dressed in Chinese fashion, complete with a log queue hanging over one shoulder, and the stereotyped Chinese Laundrymen painted on the sides.

Here are some drawings from the Baltimore Sun, illustrating their edition of The Human Laundry

After 1908, it’s not clear what, if anything, was done with the building. It might have been used as another theater venue for one of the many vaudeville acts, or it may simply have been shuttered.

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