Parque Natural Mexiquillo


The Ringing

In 1924 Mabel and John Ringling, one of Americas' richest men, built an Italian style palace, Ca' d'Zan that is perched on the edge of Sarasota Bay. Mabel died in 1929 and John was hit hard by the her passing. Next John was pummeled by the depression and died in 1936 with only $311 in the bank. Ca' d'Zan and his extensive art collection survived because he willed them to Florida.

The gang in front of the estates gate house

The circus museum

This 1940's cannon could hurl two performers 140 feet at 125 mph. The operating mechanism has been removed from the cannon - it remains a guarded family secret. 

Restored 1915 circus wagons
Arlene got legs

Linda checking out the large midway posters. They fold in half.

John Ringling's personal train car.

One man's marvelous tribute to the circus

Howard Timbals saw his first circus at age three and in his mid twenty's, 1960, he began crafting an historically correct 1930-1940's miniature circus. He is still at it today, creating more miniatures for his circus. My meager photos do not begin to communicate the enormous size and intricacy of his life's work.  Youtube video

You only see part of the circus here. 

The circus employed 1300 people and three daily meals were prepared in the cook tent. This required 2 barrels of sugar, 30 gallons of milk, 36 bags of salt, 50 bushels of potatoes, 110 dozen oranges, 200 lb tea & coffee, 226 dozen eggs, 285 lbs butter, 350 lbs salad, 1,300 lbs fresh vegetables, 2,220 loaves bread, 2,470 lbs fresh meat and 3,600 ears of corn. My question is how so much food could be purchased in the small towns of America?

In the dining tent, called The Hotel, 3,900 meats were served daily. Each person with the circus had a designated seat at a table set with china plates, silverware, a water pitcher, condiments, and bread and butter. Waiters took your order and served the meals.

Changing tent. 

The Midway

The Menagerie

The Main Tent
Every night the circus packed up and the circus train thundered through the night to the next town. The logistics required boggles the mind.

An Italian Palace.

Mabel and John Ringling traveled Europe seeking new circus acts and buying art. They loved Italian Palaces of Venice and built their own in Sarasota, FL.  3,600 square feet of Italian splender at a cost of 1.5 million.

The "Court", the focal point of Ringling's entertaining.

The breakfast room overlooks the bay

The formal dining room

Ceiling of the Ball Room

The terrace overlooking Sarasota Bay.

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