George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 24 January 1797]

24. Wind in the same quarter & thawing fast. Went to the Pantheon in the evening. [26]

went to the pantheon: The following advertisement appeared in a Philadelphia newspaper on 23 Jan.: “Pantheon, and Ricketts’s Amphitheatre. Mr. Ricketts takes the liberty of announcing to his friends and the public, that to-morrow evening there will be a variety of performances, at the Pantheon by desire of the president of the United States” (Gaz. of the U.S. [Philadelphia], 23 Jan. 1797). Ricketts’s Amphitheatre, or Circus, was devoted principally to equestrian performances and slack and tightrope walking. John Bill Ricketts, a Scotsman, had come to Philadelphia in 1792 and had shortly afterwards built his large, circular amphitheater at the corner of Chestnut and Sixth streets. Ricketts and his son were the two main equestrians, performing dangerous feats of riding and acrobatics on horseback. The amphitheater burned in 1799, and Ricketts, bankrupt, returned to England (SCHARF [1] description begins J. Thomas Scharf and Thompson Westcott. History of Philadelphia. 1609–1884. 3 vols. Philadelphia, 1884. description ends , 2:952–53).

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