This cast stone elephant is charming, isn’t it? It is one of two that are part of the Hertzberg Circus Collection. For many years it and its companion stood in front of the former San Antonio Public Library at 210 W. Market Street. Everytime I walked by the building it never failed to make me smile!
The little elephants have a long story that, thankfully, has a happy ending for them. Harry Hertzberg was a local attorney and avid circusana collector who left his extensive collection to the City of San Antonio when he passed away in 1940. The collection was then housed in the former San Antonio Public Library building and the first elephant was installed at the front; the city continued to add to the collection doubling its original size.
Five elephants were cast by local artist Julian Sandoval. A fellow circus collector commissioned one for Mr. Hertzberg as a gift; it was displayed on Mr. Hertzberg’s lawn until his death. The second elephant was donated to the collection when its owner passed away in 1989. It was installed opposite the original elephant in front of the old library.
By 2001 the circus collection contained 40,000 items and the cost of maintaining the museum was prohibitive. Per the terms of Mr. Hertzberg’s will the collection then passed to the Witte Museum. One elephant was installed in front of the museum and named “Cinnamon Candy”. Countless children (including my oldest grandchild) posed for pictures with this little elephant.
A re-painting of the elephant was sponsored by the Bolner family, owners of Bolner’s Fiesta Spices in 2006; conservation work has also been done to preserve the elephant. When the Witte underwent a major renovation the elephant was moved to the side of the museum, close to the temporary entrance. When the renovations were finished the little stone elephant was moved to its new location in front of the B. Naylor Morton Research Center. I’m not sure where the other elephant is – time for a trip to the museum!