When did the Ringling Brothers organize their first small circus?
Come one! Come all! Witness the first circus Charles, Alfred, Albert, Otto and John Rungeling organized in Baraboo, Wisconsin, their hometown. This initial foray that would become “The Greatest Show on Earth” opened May 19, 1884. They stayed within the Midwest until their acquisition of their first elephant allowed their popularity to soar like a human cannonball.
As the act expanded, the Ringling brothers acquired other circuses, with the group purchasing Barnum & Bailey Circus in 1907. Similar to an elephant’s role in increasing ticket sales, the show’s popularity dropped after the parent company, Feld Entertainment, decided to remove elephant acts, prompting Feld to shut down the long-time family favorite in May 2017. Source: Encyclopedia Britannica Online