It just keeps getting better for Sarasota, Florida. American Style Magazine just ranked our city as the No. 1 Small City for Art. Noting the “impact” John Ringling of the Ringling Brother and Barnum & Bailey Circus had on Sarasota’s history, the article mentions John and Mable Ringling’s’ former estate which is now comprised of the Ringling Museum of Art, two circus museums and a theater.
Of course, St Armands Circle is noted in the article too. Pointing out that even summer on the Circle is filled with “evenings of visual and performing arts.” The Ringling Museum offers “Art After 5” after its regular hours every Thursday until the end of August, and downtown Sarasota’s first Friday is popular with residents and vacationers who enjoy visiting the many
St Armands Circle is an exclusive island located just off the coast of Sarasota, Florida that provides an unforgettable experience to visitors from around the world. Over 130 exclusive shops, boutiques, art galleries and restaurants surround a large European-style roundabout with a park in the middle.
Charles St. Amand, a French pioneer, purchased a Florida mangrove island located just west of the fishing village of Sarasota in 1893. The three tracts of land totaled about 131 acres. St. Amand settled in this area where he fished in the surrounding waters and raised produce. Land deeds later misspelled his name as “Armand” and the name eventually stuck. The island is today called St. Armands Key.
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In 1917, John and Mable Ringling had a vision of making St. Armands real estate and the Circle a shopping and residential mecca when they purchased this mangrove key. Ringling constructed circular streets, a wooden bridge from the Sarasota mainland across Sarasota Bay from the land. Circus elephants were used to help in the construction of the streets and the bridge. The depression hit, and Ringling gifted the land to the City of Sarasota. The dream died for the Ringlings, but decades later, St. Armands got a second look from developers and present-day St. Armands was reborn.
Today St. Armands’ circular and palm lined streets remain as in Ringling’s vision. In the center of St. Armands is a circular park honoring circus stars showing off Sarasota’s