Barn to House Project
Old Circus Farm & History
Old Circus Farm was winter headquarters for the Lewis Bros Circus during the 1930’s and 40’s.  The circus toured the country from spring until fall and each spring before leaving on tour, they gave a free performance for the local residents. The Elephant barn and Long Barn were built during that time out of railroad salvage.
Because the Elephant barn (eBarn) was heated, it was home to circus employees who lived on the second floor.  Warm weather animals were housed on the ground floor including three elephants and a “big cat”.
After the circus disbanded in the 1950’s, the farm became a Standardbred breeding and training facility and the elephant barn became a horse barn.  Horse stalls were built on the cement floor where elephants once stood; run-in shelters, fencing and a 1/2 mile training track was added.
My former husband and I purchased the old circus farm in 1975.  Our sons, Erik and Pete grew up here. I’ve operated a horse boarding business since 1975 (now shared with my second husband, Ken). During the 1980’s I ran an architectural stained glass business out of my studio in the old farmhouse.
Our boarded horse population varied between 15 and 30 animals.  Half of the business consisted of turned out broodmares, foals and yearlings; primarily Standardbred racing stock.  There was always an assortment of pleasure, trail, hunt and show horses boarded here along with their owners, children, and dogs.  It was a lively place.
The farm comprises 50 acres with farmhouse, two barns, 8 paddocks/turnouts with run-in sheds, outdoor arena, 1/2 mile track, pond and 25 acres of hayfields.  
Aerial view
South Paddock
Northwest paddock
Southwest paddock
colt in crossties
winter ice
Track (upper left),  Arena and Long barn (left center) and Elephant Barn (right center). Farm house is in the grove of trees (lower center)
Ken & Agnes Soderbeck
Old Circus Farm  |  1895 Fox Road  |  Jackson, MI  49201
(517) 522-4301
Elephant Barn and Long Barn from south paddock.