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Alfred Ringling Audio

Alfred Theodore "Alf" Ringling (formerly "Ruengling"), was born in 1861, and died unexpectedly in 1919. The son of a Bavarian harness maker, Alfred, with his five brothers, formed the Ringling Brothers Circus, which later purchased the Barnum & Baily Circus, to form "The Greatest Show on Earth" (the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus). The Ringling circus quickly distinguished itself from others of the time, by being honest and fair in its attitude toward the public. No "grafters" (grifters) or cheats were allowed anywhere near their lot. Responsibilities for the circus were divided between the brothers, and Alf was responsible for circus publicity.

Although Baraboo, Wisconsin was the official summer home for the circus, in 1900 Alf bought four acres of land in Jefferson Twp, New Jersey, to keep some of the animals and build a huge 33 room mansion, complete with pipe organ and its own water turbines for electricity. The mansion, made of poured concrete and field stone, was sold in 1955 to become headquarters for the Spes Foundation, a worldwide order of the Roman Catholic Church. In 1918, Alfred also built a 5 bedroom winter home with a ballroom, in Sarasota, Florida, near where his brother John would eventually build the world famous Ringling Museum. This house has changed hands and has been modernized over the years, and can currently be rented as a vacation home.

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by Alfred Ringling
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The story of 5 young boys who wanted to start their own circus, and ended up creating "The Greatest Show on Earth".

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