Ringling Museum (ca 1930). One of Sarasota’s finest staples, the Ringling Museum officially and permanently opened to the public on January 17, 1932. Due to economic downturn in the ‘20s and ‘30s, John Ringling employed 300 members of the winter circus crew to help with construction when builders and land speculators left the area. In its first three weeks of business, the Ringling saw more than 14,000 people come through its doors to witness the fine arts and sculptures on display. Ringling’s financial problems in the ‘30s nearly led to the museum’s closure. Following his death in 1936, John Ringling left his estate to the State of Florida, and by 1946 Mrs. Ida Ringling North and John Ringling North settled the debts and claims, when finally Governor Millard Caldwell accepted the title to the Ringling home and museum.
Photo courtesy of the Sarasota County Department of Historical Resources.