ARRIVE Wilmington | The Elephant in the Room

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One of ARRIVE Wilmington’s favorite guests of all time was Topsy the Elephant. In 1922, the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus came to Wilmington, along with one of our favorite local legends, Topsy the Elephant. One day, Topsy escaped and began a two-day rampage around downtown. One stop on her big adventure was Eureka Pressing Company & Dye Works on the corner of 2nd and Dock Street, the building that now houses the Dram Yard restaurant at ARRIVE Wilmington.  

Seeing her reflection in the glass storefront, Topsy crashed through the front of the building in search of a potential pachyderm pal.  Disappointed, she decided to stage a sit-in, refusing all attempts to coax her back outside for over 24 hours. For good measure, she sucked up a big trunk full of purple dye and, perhaps realizing it wasn’t water, sprayed it everywhere, ruining a number of garments in the process.

Topsy eventually moved on – this time, through the building’s brick wall - and spent another day seeing the sights of Wilmington before her handlers finally got her under control. But she’d had already established her legendary status as our favorite guest to have passed through these doors (and windows and walls).

Star News Online, Topsy the Escaped Circus Elephant (2019). Available here.
John Hirchak, Legends of Old Wlmington & Cape Fear (2014). Available here.