The next Conversation at the Crocker event will be spectacularly interesting, coming as it does on the heels of the talk and booksigning by Michael Lancaster, author of The Last Laugh, on December 4.
What influence did Charles Ringling, John’s less public brother, have on the economic and cultural development of Sarasota?
Two curators from the Ringling Museums, Ron McCarty (Ca’ d’Zan) and Deborah Walk (Circus Museum) will present an inter-active talk about the life, times and influence of Charles Ringling on Tuesday, December 11 at 7 p.m. at the Crocker Memorial Church in Pioneer Park at 1260 12th Street, Sarasota.
In 1912, with the Ringling Bros. Circus in its heyday, Charles Ringling came to Sarasota to visit his more famous and flamboyant brother John in Sarasota. Subsequently, Charles and his wife Edith Ringling fell in love with the town, moved into a house and later in 1925 built a Georgia pink marble mansion on 40 acres on bayfront just north of John’s home. Eventually, the Charles Ringling mansion became the centerpiece of the New College bayfront campus as the school’s first library. Today it is called College Hall.
While in Sarasota, Charles Ringling purchased land and donated significant parcels to the newly created county. He owned 52 commercial lots and a 33,000-acre ranch. Charles Ringling developed the 10-story Sarasota Terrace Hotel and 150 Spanish-style homes. He founded the Ringling Bank and he donated land for a courthouse for the newly created Sarasota County.
Ringling Boulevard, the street between the courthouse and his hotel, was named for Charles Ringling.
When Charles Ringling died in 1926 in Sarasota at the age of 63 he was a working president of the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce.
“We will be focusing on Charles Ringling, of course,” said the Ca’ d’Zan curator Ron McCarty. “But we will also be including lots of information about John and their sister Ida Ringling North to provide insight into their family holdings in Sarasota and their investments in Sarasota’s future. Truly,
the Ringling family members developed so much of what we enjoy today in Sarasota.”
The Charles Ringling event at the Crocker Memorial Church is the third in a series of year-long panel discussions organized by the Historical Society of Sarasota County and sponsored by SARASOTA Magazine. Conversations at The Crocker events highlight specific aspects of Sarasota’s past and examines pivotal events and people who have influenced Sarasota today.
All Conversations take place at The Crocker Memorial Church and proceeds from this panel discussion series help to maintain the Historical Society’s two heritage properties at Pioneer Park – the Bidwell-Wood House (1882, Sarasota’s oldest private residence) and the Crocker Memorial Church (1901). Docent-led tours of both buildings are available an hour before each of the Conversations at The Crocker events.