El Vernona-John Ringling Hotel, 111 North Tamiami Trail (U.S. Highway 41), Sarasota, Sarasota County, FL
Significance: It was designed by Dwight James Baum and constructed in 1926 by the Burns Construction Company. From the beginning, the hotel was the center of glamour and activity in Sarasota. Although constructed by Owen Burns, a Sarasota real estate developer, John Ringling of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus purchased the property four years after it opened. Ringling changed the name and management of the hotel, but it remained a posh destination for the wealthy and elite. After Ringling's death in 1936, his nephew, John Ringling North, introduced a circus theme to the hotel. Trapeze artists and aerialists swung from ropes tied to wood beams in the dining room during the heyday of the hotel in the 1940s and early 1950s. The hotel closed ca. 1957, was converted to apartments, and reopened in 1964. It closed again in 1980, and remained vacant for eighteen years. After numerous unsuccessful attempts to rehabilitate the building, it was demolished in June 1998.
Unprocessed Field note material exists for this structure: N1162
Survey number: HABS FL-405
Building/structure dates: 1926 Initial Construction
Building/structure dates: 1964 Subsequent Work
Building/structure dates: 1998 Demolished
National Register of Historic Places NRIS Number: 87000197