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Ringling Bros. circus cars find new home, role

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus said its final farewell to a sold-out crowd in May, but what was known as "The Greatest Show on Earth" wasn't confined to a big-top tent or big-city arena. (WJAC)

DUBOIS - Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus said its final farewell to a sold-out crowd in May, but what was known as "The Greatest Show on Earth" wasn't confined to a big-top tent or big-city arena.

The greatness was also on the rails.

Two of the last circus cars are now at home in DuBois at The Depot at Doolittle's on Rich Highway.

Their owner, Dr. Jeffrey Rice, said he got his hands on the ring master's car and a car that housed eight employees, such as the elephant trainer or members of the high wire act.

He said they'll be among only a few cars from the circus restored and open to the public, as most were purchased by railroads or sold for spare parts.

Rice said when the circus closed, employees were only given 24 hours to vacate the train and left behind a lot of belongings.

"When we got the train, there was food still in the refrigerator and corn flakes cereal boxes in the sink," he said.

Rice plans to turn the cars into a bed-and-breakfast museum with each bedroom decorated in the motif of who lived there.

"It will be pretty much dedicated to the circus workers who lived in these rail cars, traveled in these rail cars, loved the circus and loved traveling," Rice said.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey traveled 16,000 miles each year, exclusively by train.

Rice hopes to keep the spirit of the circus rolling in the hearts and minds of so many who enjoyed "The Greatest Show on Earth."

He plans to have the cars ready by the fall.

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