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Cooke,Tight Rope Walk - 1865


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Posted by Adrienne on Monday, January 13, 2014 at 11:30:12 :

California News

Daring and Successful Feat On The Tight Rope
San Francisco, Sept. 27., - About 5000 persons were present at the Cliff House to-day to witness Mr. JAMES COOKE, perform the feat of walking a tight rope from the Cliff House to Seal Rock. At 12:15PM precisely, Cooke stepped upon the rope at the Cliff House and started out on his perilous journey, the crowd standing in awe-struck silence, not a word being spoken, so intense was the interest of all beholders. He progressed finely until within 100 feet of the rock, when a guy, which had been poorly secured, gave way, and the strong breeze which had sprung up causing the rope to swing violently from side to side, he slipped, lost his footing, and dropped astride the rope, his balancing pole falling into the sea. He then drew himself by his hands along the rope to the rock, where the pole was handed him by the boatman who had picked it up as it arose to the surface, and after about five minutes passed in resting himself, he walked steadily towards the shore; near the centre the rope swayed badly, but he appeared to have made up his mind that a failure this time was not on the bills, and without a pause or momentís hesitation he continued his walk to the end.
As he neared the shore the excitement became intense and it required the active efforts of a number of policemen to clear the landing so that he could step upon the solid ground.
The crowd, which covered the whole face of the Cliff House balcony and roof, and the whole beach below, for the first time broke silence; and one tremendous hurrah! burst from the lips of thousands. In an instant the crowd, men, women, and children rushed toward him to shake him by the hand, and it was some minutes before he could reach the Cliff House to resume his usual apparel.
The most remarkable feature of this affair is that Cooke never stepped upon the rope until within the last two weeks, though a circus performer by profession, and as he could not swim at all, it is evident a fall would probably have proved fatal to him. The crowd was so pleased with his success that hundreds offered to subscribe for a testimonial to him, and he was surrounded by a vast throng who eagerly importuned him to delay his departure and give another exhibition of his wonderful skill and daring.

Source: The Vancouver Times, October 1, 1865, Page 1



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