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Charles Ringling House

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1900, George Isenberg. 201 8th St.
  • (Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)
  • (Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)

This clapboard Colonial Revival house was the first of the Ringling mansions built in Baraboo. The front is dominated by a one-story porch with Ionic columns and a roof balustrade, spanning almost the full width of the house. A small pediment pierced by a semicircular light punctuates the roofline. The exterior is largely unaltered, but in 1918 an Otis elevator was installed, entailing the construction of a tower, which rises behind the hipped roof of the core.

To the right of the entrance vestibule, the dining room displays dark quarter-sawn oak wainscoting, built-in cabinetry, and a false-timbered ceiling. Leaded-glass windows with a geometric pattern allow natural light to play upon the walls. The library, too, boasts woodwork, elegantly executed in warm Honduran mahogany, which conveys the feeling of a gentlemen’s club. Above the built-in book-cases with leaded-glass doors is a tripartite window framed by a heavy architrave and glazed with leaded glass. The library’s classical fireplace is the simplest and yet most imposing in the house. Framing a panel of green Wisconsin marble, the mahogany surround features simple pilasters flanking a large oval and supporting a pediment containing fleur-de-lis. Many of the other rooms feature ornate plaster ceilings and marble fireplaces carved with classical motifs.

Writing Credits

Marsha Weisiger et al.


What's Nearby


Marsha Weisiger et al., "Charles Ringling House", [Baraboo, Wisconsin], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Wisconsin

Buildings of Wisconsin, Marsha Weisiger and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2017, 490-491.

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