El Vernona Hotel-John Ringling Hotel

111 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, Florida


El Vernona-John Ringling Hotel

View of front facade and south side of El Vernona Hotel facing northwest, taken from sixth floor of parking garage at One Sarasota Tower, 2 North Tamiami Trail

Photo from the Historic American Buildings Survey

View photos at Library of Congress



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. -- Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS FL-405)

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on March 5, 1987
Reference number
NR name
El Vernona Hotel--John Ringling Hotel
Architectural style
Late 19th and 20th Century Revival
Area of significance
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic function
Period of significance
Significant years
1925; 1926

Update Log 

  • July 13, 2016: Updated by Michael Miller: Updated "Status" and Added "Year Lost"