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I am looking for a circus or carnival floor plan, and even combining several search terms ("grounds" "site" "floor plan" and "carnival" and such) I have not been able to find one. Circus history sites do not seem to have them, either. What I am looking for is something like a hand plan of a circus ring and the carnivals that used to go with them circa 1900, I'd like to know the layout which I expect to be very precise to extract the maximum amount of money out of the "marks" (or customers) for a novel project I'm doing but in general I'd like to know if there's a good source for maps or architectural plans from that era. I have also checked the Digital Public Library of America, and there does not seem to be anything there either (looking for circus grounds, mainly)

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closed as off-topic by Steven Drennon Jan 8 '15 at 2:15

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Are you looking for the layout of a single tent, or of an entire carnival? – Joe Jun 3 '13 at 6:17
Entire carnival, a single tent is easy to find. I edited the title to reflect that, thanks. – jjmerelo Jun 3 '13 at 7:58
Off topic: You might be interested in checking out our sister site, Writers Stack Exchange. – Yannis Jun 3 '13 at 8:46
What a great question, and frustratingly difficult to run down online - we all know the midway, the sideshow, the rides, but tracking down how were they separated and organized in practice is proving a tough row to hoe. – RI Swamp Yankee Jun 3 '13 at 14:28
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Have you tried any circus libraries? Milner Library at Illinois State University has one of the world's largest circus collections in their Special Collections and Rare Books Room. I don't know if they would have a floor plan, but it might be worth asking their librarian. If they do, they may be able to make you a scan depending on the condition of the map. They can be contacted at mbruns1@ilstu.edu or 1(309)438-2871.

Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin also has a library, the Robert L. Parkinson Library and Research Center. They might be a good place to contact. Here's their website: http://circusworld.wisconsinhistory.org/Library/AboutResearchCenter.aspx

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Searching "layout" returns only this circus.pastperfect-online.com/30070cgi/… There is also a circus map, sans the carnival, but it's actually quite useful. I'l try contacting them anyways, thanks. – jjmerelo Jun 7 '13 at 9:52

I found at least a general description of the layout of a carnival (sans circus) in the Carny Lingo page:

The layout of the typical full-featured carnival was a time-tested pattern >designed to draw crowds all the way through the entire carnival and maximize their spending. The carnival was always laid out in the shape of a horseshoe.

It does not include a circus, but my guess is that it would go either midway in an extended horseshoe, with gate facing the arch or just opposite the arch.

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