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Three Ringlings in Montana: Circus Trains to Cattle Ranches

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The Ringling Brothers Circus—the world’s greatest shows!—made five brothers some of the wealthiest men in America in the early 1900s. One of them—flamboyant John Ringling—came to Montana in 1903 looking for investments. He ended up building a railroad and launching a ranching company. Richard, son of circus brother Alf T. Ringling, followed his Uncle John to Montana in 1917 The Ringling Brothers Circus—the world’s greatest shows!—made five brothers some of the wealthiest men in America in the early 1900s. One of them—flamboyant John Ringling—came to Montana in 1903 looking for investments. He ended up building a railroad and launching a ranching company. Richard, son of circus brother Alf T. Ringling, followed his Uncle John to Montana in 1917 and built a cattle and sheep empire. He and his family settled in a mansion in White Sulphur Springs. Richard’s son Paul was born in Montana in 1920 and became a prominent rancher and state legislator. He still lives in the state as this book is published. The Ringlings made their marks in Montana in many ways, from a town named after them to the historic Bozeman Roundup rodeo. Author and historian Lee Rostad tells the Ringlings’ Montana stories, plus tales of the circus’s ups and downs, in this engrossing volume. Her research included access to the family’s private papers and photographs, including many images in this book.


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The Ringling Brothers Circus—the world’s greatest shows!—made five brothers some of the wealthiest men in America in the early 1900s. One of them—flamboyant John Ringling—came to Montana in 1903 looking for investments. He ended up building a railroad and launching a ranching company. Richard, son of circus brother Alf T. Ringling, followed his Uncle John to Montana in 1917 The Ringling Brothers Circus—the world’s greatest shows!—made five brothers some of the wealthiest men in America in the early 1900s. One of them—flamboyant John Ringling—came to Montana in 1903 looking for investments. He ended up building a railroad and launching a ranching company. Richard, son of circus brother Alf T. Ringling, followed his Uncle John to Montana in 1917 and built a cattle and sheep empire. He and his family settled in a mansion in White Sulphur Springs. Richard’s son Paul was born in Montana in 1920 and became a prominent rancher and state legislator. He still lives in the state as this book is published. The Ringlings made their marks in Montana in many ways, from a town named after them to the historic Bozeman Roundup rodeo. Author and historian Lee Rostad tells the Ringlings’ Montana stories, plus tales of the circus’s ups and downs, in this engrossing volume. Her research included access to the family’s private papers and photographs, including many images in this book.

23 review for Three Ringlings in Montana: Circus Trains to Cattle Ranches

  1. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    This book is a quick read and would be of interest to those who enjoy Montana history. It contains good information about the Ringling circus family's connections to Montana.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Meredith

    This was an interesting book especially for someone who grew up in Sarasota, FL and currently lives in Bozeman, MT like myself. However the historic facts were presented in a very haphazard manner which often lead to losing a sense of the connections between the men and the locations. Also the author included alot of emphasis on stats such as acreage and dollar amounts which took away from the narrative of it all and made these figures have less of an impact on the reaader. An interesting quick r This was an interesting book especially for someone who grew up in Sarasota, FL and currently lives in Bozeman, MT like myself. However the historic facts were presented in a very haphazard manner which often lead to losing a sense of the connections between the men and the locations. Also the author included alot of emphasis on stats such as acreage and dollar amounts which took away from the narrative of it all and made these figures have less of an impact on the reaader. An interesting quick read, but I don't see this book making an impact on the reader unless they already have a 'history' with the narrative like I did.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Drpsychorat

    This was a very interesting, introductory book on the Ringlings in Montana. I liked the book, particularly the parts about White Sulphur Springs. But I would have liked more detail and a more cohesive read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    S Sande

    The organization of information in the book is difficult to follow. But bits of information are very, very interesting. And the lack of development of some tidbits is impetus to do more research on various details. The just announced soon to be closing of Ringling Brothers circus made having just read this book even more interesting.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rose Blum

    Highly entertaining & photos, too :) Highly entertaining & photos, too :)

  6. 5 out of 5

    Emily Carnival

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sam

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tomi Alger

  9. 4 out of 5

    diane

  10. 4 out of 5

    Chris Cauble

  11. 5 out of 5

    Chris

  12. 5 out of 5

    Nostalgia Reader

  13. 5 out of 5

    Eddy

  14. 4 out of 5

    Gwen Brown

  15. 4 out of 5

    Dawn Conwell

  16. 4 out of 5

    Capital Reader

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jodi

  18. 4 out of 5

    TK421

  19. 4 out of 5

    awge

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jean

  21. 5 out of 5

    Maribeth Mccarthy

  22. 4 out of 5

    Teeniemisfeldt

  23. 5 out of 5

    Maria Reed

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