Ringling circus shed in Baraboo gets renovation

November 23, 2014


In this Oct. 17, 2013 photo, new doors were installed as part of the initial phases of restoration of the Ringling train shed along the Baraboo Riveras in Baraboo, Wis. A $1 million renovation of the unique building which housed train cars that took the "greatest show on Earth" across the country, is complete. The Circus World Museum says it's the longest wooden railroad structure in America.

BARABOO Contractors have completed a more than $1 million renovation of a circus building that once housed train cars in Baraboo before the "greatest show on Earth" was taken across the country.

The $1.2 million upgrade to the Ringling Bros. train shed is now finished after nearly a decade of planning and execution. Crews replaced almost 300 windows, installed fire hydrants, updated electric wiring and upgraded nearby roads to prepare the 105-year-old building for its eventual opening to Circus World Museum visitors.

The 80-plus railroad cars owned by the Ringlings were repaired and repainted in the shed near the Baraboo River during the winter, the Baraboo News Republic (http://bit.ly/1uNPdJL) reported. It's the longest wooden railroad structure in America, according to museum officials.

The formerly boarded-up windows now illuminate the 600-foot-long building with natural light, Scott O'Donnell, executive director of the Circus World Foundation, told the group's executive committee Thursday.

"To see sunshine in that building again is pretty darn amazing," he said.

Circus World began the project to restore the circus shed nine years ago, and the final phase began last fall. Previous phases involved replacing exterior doors, upgrading exterior rail tracks, improving interior lighting and installing safety features.

Circus World hopes to eventually incorporate displays that highlight the role the shed played in Ringling circus' national success.


Associated Press