Jumbo the Elephant


I drive on West Henrietta road everyday to school at Rochester Institute of Technology. I moved into an apartment near Erie Station road in May 2018. I never noticed the statue until a friend pointed it out last November. The gigantic gray elephant statue on the hill across from West Henrietta road and located in the front of Ward’s Science building.

The statue is difficult to spot, it’s up on the hill and surrounded by trees. The statue seems to be small from the road but when I approach it, it is really giant and approximately 12 feet tall. It stands on middle of field and several feet away from parking lot. The statue seems to be designed to perform at circus. It looks like the statue has been there for years. The paint has been ripped off all over the body. It is simply painted with four colors; gray, white, yellow-orange and red. I believe it’s made out of cement. It has a huge sign hanging on its back, it reads “Jumbo the World’s Largest Elephant, prepared by Ward’s Natural Science 1885” and “Rochester Children’s Theatre”. I don’t think it would be necessary to add the sign because it’s so far from the road and cannot be read from the parking lot either but clearly it’s possessed by Ward’s Natural Science company. 

You can see West Henrietta road in the background behind the statue in the image below and see how the statue can be easily not seen.


Since my friend pointed it out, I looked for it when I drive by and wondered the purpose of the statue and it’s a perfect opportunity for me to learn about it too. The elephant statue represents Jumbo, also known as Jumbo the Elephant and Jumbo the Circus Elephant. He was an African bush elephant that was born in 1860 in Sudan and weighted 13,000 pounds. He is known as the most famous elephant in the world. First, he was placed in zoo in Paris and then in London Zoological Gardens and was a great pet to the children. In 1881, P.T. Barnum bought Jumbo and brought him to United States. That’s when he famously become a star of “Greatest Show on Earth” circus operated by Barnum.

He died in 1885 at age 24, he was struck by a locomotive on a railway at St. Thomas in Ontario, Canada. But many suspected he was murdered.

You can find it on West Henrietta road between Erie Station and Leigh Station road.



2018, January 23rd

Rachel Docken


3 thoughts on “Jumbo the Elephant

  1. Awesome find! I personally love hearing about new and odd things/places in the area, and it’s great that you looked into the history of the statue and Jumbo’s rollercoaster life journey. Similarly to our dilemma with the Fredrick Douglas statue, I feel it’s weird there aren’t more people aware of it’s existence. The precarious and secluded location make me wonder what the intent of the creators was in building a monument to Jumbo in the first place.

  2. This is an incredible statue and something that I find so wild. Living in Rochester my whole life, I find that there are monuments that I have no idea about such as this one that are historical in nature and have cool background stories. This is another one that has such a cool story.

  3. I have never noticed this statue even though I’m sure I have driven around this area many times. I’ll keep my eye out for it the next time I’m around there. It looks like this is a great place for this statue because it adds some color to this bleak hilly area.

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