A Heritage Project: Charles and Edith Ringling Mansion

Study where you are and since 1997 I have been in New College of Florida's College Hall, formerly known as the Charles Ringling Mansion - though more properly the Charles and Edith Ringling Mansion. 

College Hall  is a beautiful building

College Hall view

College Hall from the roof College Hall view
with great details
  College Hall music roomCollege Hall phone

Starting 2015, I organized some studies of the building. 
Several students engaged in the 2015 ISP and organized the insights and materials that I made into a brochure
 College Hall Brochure 2015

PhotoDocumentation of the Building
Situated on Sarasota Bay, College Hall faces rising sea levels. One approach for cultural heritage is preservation through documentation. In 2018 Lori Collins. PhD, of Digital Heritage & Humanities Center at the University of South Florida brought her crew to document College Hall. A video of the scan can be found at   https://www.facebook.com/lori.collins.547/videos/10211748642377352/ 
Here is a 2017 Catalyst article on the 3D photodocumentation of the building led by New College students: https://ncfcatalyst.com/remodeling-college-hall-in-virtual-reality/
College Hall VR equipment

Here are links to the 3D models:

Statue https://sketchfab.com/3d-models/statue-samsung-s7-b1573bee9def47519f18c003132e95fa


History for College Hall

When two of the Ringling brothers (John and Charles) took up the invitation by Charles Thompson and Ralph Caples to build homes on Sarasota Bay, their decisions transformed the bayshore and its legacy continues. The style of the architecture, the creation of a seawall, and projected image of a winter resort symbolized a new Sarasota, one that continues into the 21st century. The materiality, with its details, are significant for understanding New College of Florida, Sarasota, and beyond. The 1920s imprint on the Sarasota landscape is the focus for the exploration of the history of the Charles and Edith Ringling Mansion (John's House, Ca d'Zan, receives tremendous attention through the Ringlling https://www.ringling.org/history-ca-dzan). 

Harold Bubil includes the mansion as one of his favorite Florida buildings, in a September 2017 Sarasota Herald-Tribune article: https://www.heraldtribune.com/news/20170902/florida-buildings-i-love-no-38-college-hall-1926-sarasota

Chronology for College Hall

1899 Ralph C. and Ellen Caples come to Sarasota in December 1899 by horse and buggy for their honeymoon

1909 The Caples purchased a log bungalow from W.H. English in Shell Beach, just north of Indian Beach on Sarasota Bay and invite their friends John and Charles Ringling to visit

1909 John Ringling visits Sarasota

1911 John and Mabel purchase property from Charles Thompson

1912 Charles and Edith Ringling purchase the adjoining property

1912 The three build a 2,000-foot seawall for their properties

1924-26 John and Mabel Ringling hire New York architect Dwight James Baum to design and Owen Burns to build the house known in the architectural plans as “The Residence of Mrs. John Ringling” and today as Ca’ d’Zan

1925-26 Charles and Edith Ringling employ the Milwaukee architectural firm of Clas, Shephard, and Clas to construct the house modeled on 18th century English architecture, faced with pink Etowah Georgia marble

1926 Charles Ringling dies

1953 Edith Ringling lives in the house until her death

1958 Gerald Collins, a former state legislator, dog and horse track owner and entrepreneur, purchased the house; Hester Ringling Sanford continues living in her home; Mr. and Mrs. Fred S. Wynans of Pennsylvania who renovated the mansion, lived with their large family

1962 Purchase by New College (Hester Ringling home, Cook Hall, purchased in 1966), used for classes and as a dining hall as well as a student center.

1966 Becomes the New College library; the Music Room used for special events, meetings, and performances

1986 Jane Bancroft Cook Library was dedicated; College Hall becomes classrooms, faculty and staff offices

2012 New seawall constructed by New College of Florida

 Here are some explorations of details of that chronology

College Hall is the former resident of Charles and Edith Ringling, a home built in 1926. Charles died in the building within a year of its construction, as reported in the Sarasota Herald on December 4, 1926

Charles Dies at Home 1926

In the 21st century there are legends of ghosts in College Hall. See Sarasota Herald-Tribune story from October 2015 from http://ticket.heraldtribune.com/2015/10/30/paranormal-society-checks-mansion-and-new-college-for-spirits/ and Catalyst story from 2010 https://ncfcatalyst.com/new-college-ghost-stories-the-catalyst-investigates/

In 1962, the mansion became College Hall, the central building for the newly opened New College

1962 College Hall news

Then it became the College library

In the main second floor hallway, there was only one office (now there is a row of faculty offices): marked as #9, it happens to be my office, room 205

College Hall is now faculty offices (including mine), two classrooms, the music room for performances, the lobby for receptions, and comfortable spaces for lounging and socializing


The Bayfront Seawall https://www.ncf.edu/about/our-campus/sustainability/:

The Charles Ringling mansion and its gravity seawall, constructed in 1925-26, weathered tides and storms for 85 years until the seawall was on the verge of collapse. With funding from the State of Florida, the old seawall was replaced in 2012 to restore the aesthetic of the Ringling Historic District but with more modern materials. In addition to the beautiful balustrade along Sarasota Bay, the restoration includes an intertidal lagoon with a sloping shoreline and additional intertidal habitat, providing New College students and K-12 students who visit our campus better access to studying the natural environment.

Sea Wall from Roof of College Hall
view of the seawall from the roof of College Hall