Massachusetts - Elephants in Cambridge

Elephants in Cambridge, MA

On October 6, 2005, at high noon, elephants embarked on their perennial march to the Boston Garden (which changes names often enough that I'll leave it at that so I don't ever have to update the page). They start in the vicinity of MIT, and march via Massachusetts Avenue and other roads (Vassar St., Memorial Drive, or Albany St., depending on the year) to cross the Charles River Dam. Other animals are trucked to the Garden, so the march is mostly for show, since the elephant train could just be brought into North Station instead.

The circus train sits on the tracks behind my dorm, the Grand Junction that links tracks north and south of Boston, but sees very little traffic since it's cheaper for trains to detour to Worcester and back.

State, Cambridge, Boston, and DCR policemen and special forces came for crowd and traffic control, even though very little of either was necessary.

The elephants wait patiently in the front train cars (the back ones are for about 160 handlers and other crew, and there are cars for exotic and barnyard non-elephant animals).

Unloading the world's largest living land animals.

Coming down the tracks to Mass. Ave., with the crowd on the right safely behind the pipes, or on the left across the tracks. The handlers did a far better job of keeping the crowd out of the middle than did the police.

Most elephants were okay following the ones in front of them, but a couple needed some extra directional help.

The mid-size elephant at the tail of the line. Pardon the pun. All of these elephants are female, to both prevent disruptions in line and to prevent there being more elephants leaving the train than entered it. I'm sure there are real reasons, as well.

Turning onto Mass. Ave. This year's route went to Memorial Drive.

There will never be another cow on the Great Dome, since MIT's roof can't support a pachyderm. (The original cow was a bovine, but female elephants are also called cows, and males are bulls. I hear they make some pretty large steaks...)

Here's the photo you've been waiting for: Elephants on Mass. Ave.! Notice that the road is under construction - this is a pretty constant state of affairs in Cambridge and near MIT.

Click to watch the elephants march!

Road photos on Mass. Ave., MA 2A
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