Welcome to the Ringling, Montana Picture Tour

The town was named after John Ringling, one of five brothers who launched the Ringling Bros. Circus. When John Ringling came to Montana in 1910, rumors flew that he and his brothers planned to make the Smith River Valley the winter headquarters for their circus.  Ringling owned five short-line railroads in the West. Oddly enough, similar rumors about a possible circus headquarters swirled around the town of Ringling in southern Oklahoma, a town also renamed in his honor.

Lee Rostad, who wrote “Mountains of Gold, Hills of Grass: A History of Meagher County,” found no evidence suggesting Ringling ever planned to create a circus headquarters in Montana. To oversee his Montana land holdings, John Ringling sent his nephew, Richard Ringling, who established the Ringling Dairy herd and the Springs Creamery, one of the largest dairy operations in a several-state region.

Jimmy Buffett Song only Montanan’s know about

We admit it, we always wanted to build a tour of Ringling, Montana long after we heard the the Jimmy Buffett song “Ringling, Ringling.”  We had to go see what the fuss about. The song says Ringling is a “dying little town” but in fact the landmark buildings in town have experienced a renaissance.  Shirle Norquist, a Big Timber paralegal, and her friend, Andrea Coulson, a paramedic who works in Seattle, bought the St John’s Church building in June of 1998 and returned it to it’s former glory. Another popular landmark the Ringling Bar and Cafe received a major renovation and has never looked so good. Way to go Ringling!