A Dog’s Day in Syracuse

Dog Sled on Erie Boulevard

On April 5, 1939, Syracuse citizens were amazed to see two gentlemen leading a dog team and a wheeled dogsled down Erie Boulevard. The gentlemen were garbed in heavy Eskimo coats and boots and it was discovered that they were headed to New York City. Once there, they would be on display for the 1939 World’s Fair as part of the Canadian exhibit. The team had trudged 3400 miles across the United States traveling through some of the larger cities such as Chicago, Cleveland and St. Paul. They began their journey in September of 1938 on the heavy snows of the Northwest Territory in the Canadian Arctic. Rubber wheels had to be added to the sled, however, in St. Paul, Minnesota when the snow disappeared. The team traveled between 25 and 40 miles per day depending on the air temperature as huskies can easily overheat in warmer weather. While in Syracuse, a band of local dogs became involved in a fight with the lead husky, Tavana. Bystanders watched in horror, as the owners struggled to separate the dogs. After numerous bites, the owner managed to rescue Tavana but due to his injuries, the dog had to finish the journey as a passenger strapped on the sled. The team finally arrived in New York City at the end of April.

– Karen Cooney, OHA