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Ringling Bros. Circus

Ringling Bros. Circus

Please Note; This page is about the Ringling Bros. Circus 1884 - 1919.
If you are searching for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus please click here.

The seven Ringling Brothers, Albert, August Gustav, Otto, Alfred Theodore, Charles Edward, John Nicholas and Henry and one sister Ida Loraina (mother of John Ringling North) were born in McGregor, Iowa and raised in Baraboo, Wisconsin (now home of the Circus World Museum). The brothers mother and father were Heinrich Friedrich August Ringling of Germany and Marie Salome Juliar of France.

Five of the seven brothers, Charles, Albert, Otto, Alfred, and John formed the "Classic and Comic Concert Co.", a song and dance troupe. The quintet began adding novelty acts and on May 19, 1884 in Baraboo, Wisconsin, they opened their first small circus. The circus toured the Midwest United States and grew slowly. In 1888 the Ringlings purchased their first elephant, a creature that most Midwesterners had not seen in the late 1800s. After the Purchase of the elephant the circus began to thrive.

In 1890 the circus changed from a horse drawn wagons to railroad cars, thus extending their route and lengthening there tour. By 1900 the circus had become a strong competitor of the larger and more well known "Barnum and Bailey Circus". In 1906 the Ringlings puechased the "Forepaugh-Sells Circus" and after James Anthony Bailey's death they bought the "Barnum and Bailey Circus". The brothers operated the circuses separtly until 1919 when the combined The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

In 1929 John Nicholas Ringling, the last surviving brother purchased the American Circus Corporation, of Peru IN. The purchase included five large circuses the Sells-Floto Circus, Al G. Barnes Circus, Sparks Circus, Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus, and John Robinson Circus.

On Saturday January 14, 2017, after the evening performances of the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus in Orlando and Miami, circus employees were told that the show will be closing in May.

The reasons giving for the decision were declining attendance combined with increased operating costs, along with changing public tastes.

The two units of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will give their last performances on May 7 in Providence, RI and on May 21 in Uniondale, NY.

 

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