Classic Chicago

That Time Elephants Visited The Chicago Athletic Association

Elephants? It happened!


Back in the day, Chicago Athletic Association hosted some pretty interesting parties. Each year, the circus came to town during the holidays and The Chicago Athletic Association would host the circus for its members the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Not a bad perk, eh?

The circus would set up in the gymnasium on the fourth floor and would bring elephants — elephants at The Chicago Athletic Association! But one year, one of the pachyderms didn’t want to leave. No matter what the handlers did, it wouldn’t go down the stairs. One story goes that the handlers poured Cognac into its water to have it relax. Another wild story says they had the elephant drink five barrels of whiskey before it got loose enough to finally budge. Whatever it was, it worked and the elephant started down the stairs. And you thought getting stuck next to that drunk guy in the kitchen at your last house party was rough!

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