Museum & Archives open by appointment only

The World’s Greatest Aerial Ring Contortionist

In the early 20th century, “The World’s Greatest Aerial Ring Contortionist”, Harry Rickrode, aka Senor Albanico, hailed from York Springs. The son of Frank and Louisa Rickrode, Harry was one of America’s great acrobats, known for his daredevil feats on the trapeze.

In January 1905, Rickrode traveled to Jamaica to join the Maguire European Novelty Company for a ten week engagement. Using the stage name, Senor Albanico, Rickrode traveled through the U.S., Europe, and South America as well as Australia, performing his amazing feats to appreciative audiences. A head injury cut short his career and he returned home to York Springs where his flamboyant personality certainly succeeded in catching the attention of his neighbors. Norman Criswell, the proprietor of the Quaker Bakery, delivering bread one day to the Rickrode home was surprised to see Harry stretched out lengthwise with his arms folded on his mother’s clothesline. Mrs. Rickrode reassured the baker that “Harry likes to keep in practice.” Harry enjoyed riding his bicycle through town performing acrobatic stunts, entertaining the townspeople. He successfully walked without a balancing pole on a wire stretched over Harrisburg Street between the First National Bank and the general store. Unfortunately for Harry, fame was brief and upon the death of his mother, he was forced to take refuge in the county home. Rickrode’s death in January 1932 at the age of 49 was attributed to diabetes.

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