Sarasota News Leader

12/21/2012

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Sarasota News Leader December 21, 2012 Page 78 markable partnership, too, which some his- that is home to his mansion and museum. torians say accounts for the success of the Charles was close on his heels. family business. ���John purchased the property in 1911,��� McNonetheless, some of the brothers are practi- Carty said. ���Charles came and visited and discally unknown to Sarasotans. covered how beautiful it was here. They de���Al Ringling was the brother who really got cided to make a Ringling compound. Charles the others together to fulfill this dream of bought next door, and Alf T. Ringling owned a mansion north of them in the Whitfield area,��� owning a circus,��� said Walk. McCarty added. He performed as an acrobat initially, and he was known for his ability to stage the specta- The other great circus of the day was the cles that would make the circus famous. ���He Barnum and Bailey. In 1907, Otto and John controlled how the circus was put together; decided the brothers should buy it. The two shows were run separately until 1919, when he was the ringmaster,��� Walk added. they were combined. Otto Ringling was considered the most wellread. He loved horses and was referred to as One of the saddest reasons for that business ���The King,��� as he held the purse strings for the decision, Walk said, was the early deaths of a number of the brothers. Walk pointed out entire circus, according to McCarty. there just were not enough members of the Alf T. Ringling wrote the program books for family left to operate separate circuses. the circus, with all those delicious descriptions of wild and exotic animals and daring According to public records, August Ringling circus acts. In 1900, he penned, The Life Story died in 1907, William in 1911, Albert in 1916, of the Ringling Brothers, which to this day is Henry in 1918 and Alfred in 1919. The circuma critical source for facts about the Ringling stances would have left just John and Charles family and circus. to run the two shows. The last two brothers are far more famous in Baraboo than in Sarasota. Gus Ringling was ���one of the kindest of the brothers,��� said McCarty. He worked for the circus when it first converted to railroad transport, and he was the first brother to die. Charles died in 1926; he was buried in a family mausoleum in Manasota Memorial Park in Bradenton. His wife, Edith, took on many of his responsibilities with the circus and continued living in the bayfront estate that was completed the year of his death. Henry Ringling was the largest, at 6 feet 3 Editor���s note: The lecture series continues on inches in height and a weight of about 300 Jan. 15, 2013 with Kay Kipling speaking on pounds. How We Became an Art Colony. The Crocker John was the first Ringling to ���discover��� Sara- Church is located at 1260 12th St. in Pioneer sota, buying the now famous bayfront land Park, located just east of U.S. 41. %

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