Circus Train Car

The circus train car arrived at the Historic Venice Train Depot on January 28, 2021.


For tour dates and times, check our calendar.


To watch the 19-minute video of the Circus Train Car move to the Depot, click here.


Thank you to all supporters!


Photos of the circus car's move from the Florida Railroad Museum in Parrish, FL; the renovations in Venice; and the final move to the Historic Venice Train Depot.

                  Circus Train Car Update

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus wintered in Venice, FL between 1960 and 1992.  With the help of numerous donors from the Venice area and around the nation, VAHS brought a retired circus train car to the Historic Venice Depot Campus.  VAHS found an ideal car, built by Pullman Standard and once owned by Ringling, at the Florida Railroad Museum (FRRM).  The Society has raised the funds to purchase it, restore and reconfigure it, and prepare the Depot site to receive it.  Originally called the Short Leaf Pine, the 85-foot long rail car had its last brake check in Venice in 1993.


Thank you to:

  • The Kathleen K. Catlin Foundation at the Community Foundation of Sarasota County for awarding $72,000 to the project 
  • The Gulf Coast Community Foundation for the $37,000 Leveraged Grant
  • Julia Cousins Laning for her extraordinary generosity in donating $42,000
  • The Tom E. Dailey Foundation of Chicago, Illinois for the $5,000 Railroad Heritage Grant
  • The Venice-Nokomis Woman’s Club for raising $6,200
  • Bill Jervey, Barbara and Dick Smith, and Tom Deupree for their challenge grants, and all donors who have given to the project!

The car is currently at the Historic Venice Train Depot next to the caboose.  Check the calendar for tour dates and times.  The exhibits illustrate how Ringling performers lived on the circus train and describe the many innovations that took place in the Ringling Bros. Circus during the Venice years.  Venice’s circus legacy is also celebrated.

Having a retired Ringling Bros. car which was actually used in Venice is the ideal fulfillment of the original vision and plan for the Historic Venice Train Depot.  VAHS is proud to play a part in the vision.

The Society now leases all historic assets on the Depot campus.  Funds are necessary to provide ongoing maintenance of the interior and exterior of both the caboose and circus car, a requirement of its lease agreement with Sarasota County.  All donations, both large and small, are important in helping VAHS.  Please mail checks to:

Venice Area Historical Society

Circus Train Car Project

PO Box 995

Venice, FL  34284-0995

Thank you for helping to preserve Venice's circus heritage!

    

VAHS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and has registered with the State of Florida to solicit contributions.  A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE WITHIN (800-435-7352) OR OUTSIDE (850-410-3800) FLORIDA.  REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE.” Ch 32089

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® and The Greatest Show On Earth® trademarks are used under license from Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Combined Shows, Inc.


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