No name has dominated Sarasota’s history like that of John Ringling, commonly known today as the “circus king who built a museum and started an art school.” A century ago, Ringling and his wife, Mable, spent a dozen quiet winters in Sarasota before the dramatic Florida Land Boom began in the 1920s. Always one to recognize opportunity, Ringling, often working with developer Owen Burns, seized the chance to profit from his significant land holdings in Sarasota and on its barrier islands. While developers George Merrick, Addison Mizner, Glenn Curtiss and Carl Fisher fought over the Miami-Palm Beach corridor, Ringling had freshly minted Sarasota County largely all to himself. This program traces the riches-to-ruin story of both the Florida Boom and John Ringling. He had many acquaintances but few friends, yet he reshaped Sarasota’s image and helped make it the cultural capital it is today. In this lecture, you will learn details of Ringling’s life that go far beyond the common perception.
Harold Bubil’s first byline in a Sarasota newspaper was printed in December 1974. After serving in a variety of roles with the Sarasota Journal and the Sarasota HeraldTribune, he was real estate editor of the Herald-Tribune from 1994 until his recent retirement. In addition, he has written about architecture for the newspaper since 1999. His favorite topics, in addition to real estate and architecture, include development history and green building. In 2015, he received the Bob Graham Architectural Awareness Award from the Florida-Caribbean chapter of the American Institute of Architects. In 2017, he received the Gold Award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors for the nation’s best residential real estate story of 2016.
Students will need to have the following in order to participate in this class: