Skip to Main Content

Wahpeton, North Dakota: Tombstone Tent Pole of Doom

The graves of circus workers Charles Smith and Charles Walters are marked by a carved stone replica of the blasted tent post they were erecting when it was struck by a thunderbolt on June 10, 1897.

Bohemian Cemetery

182nd Ave. SE, Wahpeton, ND
Go to Center St. S. and 11th Ave. S. Drive south for one mile. Cemetery is on the left; when you enter, you'll see the pole-like monument straight ahead and to the left.
Save to My Sights

Visitor Tips and News About Tombstone Tent Pole of Doom

Reports and tips from visitors and Roadside America mobile tipsters. Some tips may not be verified. Submit your own tip.

Grave of Duke, Circus member.

Circus Lightning Victims Monument

In addition to the monument itself, there's also a grave to the left of the monument (while facing it), that is circus-related. It is the grave of Herbert Joseph "Duke" Walker, a trumpet player for the Dailey Bros. Circus who died of natural causes in Wahpeton.

[Stacy Barnes, 08/03/2015]

Circus Lightning Victims Monument.

Circus Lightning Victims Monument

In Riverside Cemetery, the graves of Charles Smith and Charles Walters are marked by a carved stone replica of a circus tent post. While setting up for a show on the morning of June 10, 1897, the two Ringling Brother's Circus employees were struck by lightning and killed instantly.

The Ringling Brother's Circus Monument is replica of the stricken post, and includes a rope and chain like the men used to hoist their unintended lightning rod.

[Gail R, 02/17/2010]

August 2015: Photo added.

Nearby Offbeat Places

World's Largest CatfishWorld's Largest Catfish, Wahpeton, ND - 3 mi.
The Sermon In StoneThe Sermon In Stone, Fairmount, ND - 13 mi.
Indoor Minnesota-Shaped Swimming PoolIndoor Minnesota-Shaped Swimming Pool, Fergus Falls, MN - 23 mi.
In the region:
Sodbuster Statue, Fargo, ND - 45 mi.

Latest Tips Across Roadside America

Catch up on the latest discoveries from the road.

Explore Thousands of Oddball Tourist Attractions!

Unique destinations in the U.S. and Canada are our special obsession. Use our attraction recommendation and maps to plan your next road trip.

My Sights

My Sights on Roadside America

Save Cool Vacation Destinations! ...Try My Sights

Mobile Apps

Roadside America app: iPhone, iPad Roadside America app for iPhone, iPad. On-route maps, 1,000s of photos, special research targets! ...More

Roadside Presidents app: iPhone, iPad Roadside Presidents app for iPhone, iPad. POTUS landmarks, oddities. ...More

North Dakota Latest Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

Bloodstained Tomb of Nina Craigmiles, Cleveland, Tennessee (Apr 8-14, 2024)

SotW Archive

USA and Canada Tips and Stories

More Sightings

Favorite Quirky City Sights