Today was a day that I had been looking forward to for over a year. Today we were going to visit The Ringling, the sixty six acre estate that was the former home of John and Mable Ringling. Let me say right up front there is more to see here than one can see in only a day. Furthermore, no amount of pictures can ever do this fascinating place justice. This is a place that everyone needs to visit at least once in their lifetime.
So, rather than cram in everything we saw today in one blog I’m going to break it up into several different separate installments. Tonight, let’s just take a look at the grounds themselves as well as the former home of John and Mable Ringling. I also want to introduce you to two of God’s beautiful people, Barbara’s brother Harry and his wife Janet who met us at The Ringling.
So, the grounds, absolutely breathtaking and beautiful.
The final resting place of John and Mabel Ringling in the Secret Garden.
Then there is Ca’d’Zan
Though in the Venetian dialect it was known as the House of John on all the architects plans it was always known as The Mable Ringling House. Why? Because Mable supervised every aspect of the building, down to the mixing of the terra cotta and the glazing of the tiles.
In 1911, John and his wife, Mable, purchased 20 acres of waterfront property in Sarasota. In 1912, they began spending winters in what was then still a small town. They became active in the community and purchased more and more real estate, at one time owning more than 25 percent of Sarasota’s total area.
After a few years the couple decided to build a house and hired the noted New York architect Dwight James Baum to design it. Mable, who kept a portfolio filled with sketches, postcards and photos, wanted a home in the Venetian Gothic style of the palazzi in Venice, Italy, with Sarasota Bay serving as her Grand Canal. Construction began in 1924 and was completed two years later at a then staggering cost of $1.5 million. Five stories tall, the 36,000 square foot mansion has 41 rooms and 15 bathrooms.
This is the view of the house as you came down the front drive.
Another view of the front of the house as you came up the circular drive.
This is the back of the house.
The patio in the back with its view of Sarasota Bay.
Off the patio in the Bay John Ringling moored his yacht which was christened the Zalophus, latin for sea lion. The 125 foot all-steel vessel with a 12 ft beam and a draft of 4 ft was designed for the Gulf waters by the Consolidated Ship-building Corporation of Morris Heights, New York. The boat cost $200,000. With 6,200 gallons of oil onboard, it had a cruising radius of 4,000 miles. Borrowed one evening without his knowledge by a friend, at 3 am in the morning the yacht hit a submerged object and sank in 12 feet of water. All those on board made it safely to shore while heavy seas battered the yacht. The contents and pieces of the yacht washed ashore along the coast, some reaching as far as Cortez, 20 miles north. The ship’s wheel and compass were recovered by diving around the submerged ship after the accident.
While at The Ringling today we also arranged to meet with Barbara’s brother Harry and his wife Janet. They have a home in Fort Myers which is just south of Sarasota. Here is Barbara, Harry, and Janet after we finished lunch at a very over-priced cafe on the grounds with very under appetizing food! Guess we should have known better.
Despite the disappointing food we nevertheless had a great time together. It is always extra special when you get to spend time with family and friends.
OK, I can’t let this one go. On the grounds of the Art Museum is this display of the Tin Man with what is supposed to be the face of Donald Trump. Remember what the Tin
Man was known for? That’s right, for not having a heart! I’ll say no more.
That then was our day on The Road of Retirement. We had a great time, a fascinating time of discovery, as always done together, hand in hand. Thanks for coming along with us and we’ll share more of what we found today in tomorrow’s blog. As of now I’m going to say goodnight but before I go a thought for each of us to ponder:
As always, if you are coming to the end of your day with concerns and worries, let me suggest that you turn them over to God. After all, He is going to be up all night so why not let him handle them for you.
Time now for our evening prayers and eventually some shut-eye. Till tomorrow.
These are the voyages of Graybeard and it’s occupants, four paws and two humans. Our continuing mission: to explore as many new states as possible, to seek out new acquaintances and make new friends, to boldly go where we have not been before