The most southern end of Forest Park is the final resting place of the trapeze artists, bareback riders, lion tamer, strongmen, clown families and dozens of others, including “Smiley,” “Baldy,” “4 Horse Driver,” and “unknown” in the Showmen’s Rest section of Woodlawn Cemetery.
The Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus was making their way from Michigan City to Hammond, Indiana and stopped to manage a mechanical issue in the early morning of June 22, 1918.
An empty Pulman car, driven by a conductor who had little sleep, heavy meals and some kidney pills, had fallen asleep in the locomotive. Passing the warning signals the passenger train struck the caboose and rear wooden sleeping cars which erupted in flames, killing an estimated 86 people.
Five days later, 53 of those killed were buried in a mass grave at Woodlawn Cemetery in the section set aside by the Showmen’s League of America months earlier. Five statues of elephants with lowered trunks watch over the burial site.