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How long did Ringling Circus perform?

I'm a person who likes to be amazed and impressed. Usually it doesn't take much, I'm an excitable person. I'm sure I've gone to a circus, I just don't remember when... or really remember very much of anything... I'd like to think it's because I'm so present, I forget to log the experiences in my memory bank.


"The Greatest Show on Earth" was conceived and built by a group of Ringling brothers. The brothers active in founding and running the family’s circus enterprises were : Albert C. (1852–1916), Otto (1858–1911), Alfred T. (1861–1919), Charles (1863–1926), John (1866–1936), and occasionally August G. (1854–1907) and Henry (1869–1918) Ringling.


Five of August Rüngeling's (a German-born harness maker) seven sons, Charles, Albert, Otto, Alfred, and John formed a song-and-dance troupe in 1882 called the Classic and Comic Concert Co. They were a traveling show for two seasons. They included circus acts to their show which proved favorable among audiences, which lead them to organize their first small circus. The circus opened in their hometown Baraboo, Wisconsin on May 19, 1884. From there they toured around the Midwest United States.


The shows progress was slow until the brothers acquired their first elephant in 1888. This lead to the circus expanded rapidly. In 1890 was the first year the Ringling Brothers began loading their circus wagons on railway cars, enabling them to make a much longer tour. By 1900 the Ringling Brothers were actively competing with the famous Barnum & Bailey Circus. The brothers started buying up other circuses and acquired the Forepaugh-Sells Circus in 1906. James A. Bailey passed away in 1906, and the Ringling brothers bought the Barnum & Bailey Circus from his widow in 1907, making them the leading circus in the country, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Combined Shows.


In 1929 Ringling Bros. bought the American Circus Corporation, bringing a total of 11 major circuses under Ringling control. By this time the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus had a main-tent seating capacity of 10,000. The circus finally passed out of the Ringling family’s hands in 1967, when it was purchased by the Feld family.


After almost a century an a half, the Ringling circus took its final bow on May 21, 2017.




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