From Moons Ohio to Ca’ d’Zan

Mable Ringling Revealed: Mable Ringling as presented by the Historical Society of Sarasota CountyA Conversations at The Crocker presentation with rare photos of Mable Ringling and her time in Sarasota bring to life her lasting influence on this city 
Mable Burton Ringling (1875-1929) is remembered as the wife of John Ringling, America’s circus king.  But she was much more than the gracious hostess of Ca’ d’Zan, her Sarasota mansion. Her influence is felt today on the west coast of Florida where she oversaw the construction of the couple’s 57-room Venetian Gothic mansion on Sarasota Bay.


On Tuesday, April 14, at 7 p.m. Deborah Walk, Curator of the Tibbals Circus Museum will reveal the many talents of Mable Ringling. Joining Deborah Walk on stage after her visual presentation will be curator and keeper of Ca’ d’Zan, Ron McCarty. Together they will answer questions from the audience.

Mable Burton Ringling was born in the small farm town of Moons in Ohio. John Ringling and Mable married in 1905. In 1911 they purchased 20 acres of bayfront land in Sarasota and began to winter here.  In 1924, Mable who loved Venice and Venetian architecture, commissioned the architect Dwight James Baum to build a 57-room mansion in the Venetian Gothic style. She oversaw every aspect of the design and building. The home was completed in 1926 at a cost of about $1.5 million. It was a huge amount in its day, but John Ringling’s wealth was calculated in 1925 to be approximately $200 million.

Mable Ringling landscaped the grounds liberally with exotic trees and flowers. She installed a rose garden and a secret garden.  Mable died in 1929 at the age of 54. Her famous husband never recovered from the loss and he died in 1936 at the age of 70. Both John and Mable Ringling are buried in Mable’s secret garden, on the grounds of the Ringling Museum.

Now in its third year and presented by the Historical Society of Sarasota County (HSOSC), Conversations at The Crocker is a series of interactive monthly discussions that highlight aspects of Sarasota’s history and looks at past events and people who have influenced today’s Sarasota.  All Conversations are open to the public and take place at the historic Crocker Memorial Church at Pioneer Park, 1260 12th Street, Sarasota. This Conversation at the Crocker program is free to Historical Society members and to students and is $10 for guests.  Tuesday, April 14 at 7pm. (Please note: To assure that you have a seat in these popular presentations, it is best to arrive no later than 6:45pm.) For additional information about Conversations at The Crocker or the Mable Ringling event, contact site manager Linda Garcia at 941-364-9076.

2 thoughts on “From Moons Ohio to Ca’ d’Zan

    • Hi Norma, we anticipate having another SRO crowd for this very special Conversations, and we’ll be urging people to get there early so they get a seat. Program will start promptly at 7, so we’re hoping folks settle in by 6:45 at the latest…

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