Editors Note: This article was reprinted from the 1970 Centennial Book, which was filled with many historical stories about Imlay City.
In 1860 Rexford Rogers and James Harrington erected the Imlay Hotel about 3/4 miles South of Newark Road on South Blacks Corners Road.
The hotel was purchased in 1865-1866 by the Whitney family who owned a circus. The second floor had a large dance floor which the family used for training acrobats and circus needs.
The circus had a band, led by Leon Whitney, some animals and clowns. The circus traveled by wagon train.
Every spring the show opened in Imlay City under a large tent. The event was always thrilling and exciting to the local children. The circus traveled in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana during the summer months and closed usually in October.
After thirty prosperous years, the circus disbanded in the early 1890s and one of the main attractions, a contortionist and trick bicyclist, Mitchell Trude, opened a bicycle shop on Almont Avenue where Bill Blanchard’s store was located. Mitchell Trude often entertained the children who came to his shop.