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Charles & Edith Ringling's Mansion on the Bay

Articles: Sarasota History

Credit: Sarasota county History Center

Sarasota History - Charles & Edith Ringling's Mansion on the Bay photo

 Charles and Edith Ringling built their palatial mansion on Sarasota Bay just north of brother John Ringling's home, Ca'd'Zan. Construction took almost two years and was completed in 1926. Although Charles died in December 1926, the mansion served for many years as the Charles Ringling family center. Daughter Hester, and son Robert, lived with their families in homes immediately to the north and south of the main house. Hester Ringling Patterson Sanford remained in her home until her death in 1964. It is now part of the New College campus known as South Hall.

Interior decoration of the mansion was done by Marshall Field and Company of Chicago, and furnishings were imported from many parts of the world, including pieces by Sheraton and Hepplewhite in England, selected in keeping with the English design of the house. The entire exterior of the mansion is veneered with pink Etowah Georgia marble, following the classic 18th century English architecture.

Mrs. Edith Ringling occupied the mansion until her death in 1953. The house and furnishings were sold in 1958; the house renovated and lived in until it was sold to New College in 1962. The school used the house as a library, for classes, for dining functions and as a student center until a facility for those activities was constructed elsewhere on campus. In 1966 the mansion was used primarily as a library although the Music Room is still used for special meetings, theater, dance and music events.