Historical figures in the banner are (L-R):  Rev. Jesse Knight, Frank Higel, Bertha Honoré Palmer, Dr. Fred Albee, John Nolen

Historical figures in the banner above are (L-R): 

Rev. Jesse Knight, Frank Higel, Bertha Honoré Palmer, Dr. Fred Albee, John Nolen

Welcome to VAHS

“Come!  Celebrate history with us!”

The circus train car described on this site arrived at the Historic Venice Depot on January 28, 2021.  The interior displays will be installed over the next several months.  The train car will be opened to the public when the project is completed.  Thank you to all supporters!

Watch a 19-minute video of the Circus Train Car move to the Depot by clicking here.

Sarasota County has closed the Train Depot for repairs.  Therefore, the Depot and Caboose Tours are canceled until further notice.  Check this website for updates.

Preserve the Venice Depot's Circus Train Car Logo

(Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® and The Greatest Show On Earth® trademarks are used under license from Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Combined Shows, Inc.)

We Need Your Help! Fundraising is ongoing for the Circus Train project and VAHS programs.  For more information, click here.

Like us on Facebook!

Preserve the Venice Depot's Circus Train Heritage!

Both the Gulf Coast Community Foundation and the Kathleen K. Catlin Foundation at the Community Foundation of Sarasota County have awarded significant grants to VAHS to help preserve the Venice Depot's Circus Train Heritage!  VAHS welcomes Gulf Coast and the Community Foundation as partners in preserving Venice's Circus and railroad heritage in a visible and exciting way.  For more information about the project, see the Circus Train Page.

Pictures of the circus car's move from the Florida Railroad Museum in Parrish, FL; renovation in Venice; and its final move to the Historic Venice Train Depot.

Installation of last wheel truck (Photo: George Miller) January 2021
Car being pulled over ditch and across Legacy Trail (Photo: Mary Huba) January 2021
Wheel trucks being moved into place on tracks (Photo: George Miller) January 2021
View from Venice Ave. Bridge (Photo: Jennifer Holland) January 2021
Under Venice Ave. Bridge (Photo: Dick Smith) January 2021
Heading west in east-bound lane of W. Venice Ave. (Photo: Dick Smith) January 2021
Temporarily removing sign, allowing car to proceed (Photo: Sarah Miller) January 2021
Turning into the east-bound lane of W. Venice Ave. (Photo: George Miller) January 2021
Heading north on Seaboard Ave. (Photo: George Miller) January 2021
Venice Community Resource Officer helping to ensure safety of move (Photo: Carol Marie Davis) January 2021
Heading west on Spur Street (Photo: Jennifer Holland) January 2021
Pulling out of Uniglide Trailer Company (Photo: Jennifer Holland) January 2021
Application of the decal has begun. January 7, 2021
Interior January 6, 2021.
Interior January 6, 2021.
RAM Marine working on new electrical service line for the Circus Car. Late December 2020.
Window Inserts have been installed. Displays will be mounted on these inserts, as well as the walls around them. December 18, 2020
Car Interior with Track Lighting-December 2020
One end of Car November 23, 2020
Future Visitor Entrance Door in Center of Side of Car November 23, 2020
Future Visitor Entrance Door (Propped open at center of side of car) November 23, 2020
Entrance door is being prepped for end of car. October 5, 2020
Sheetrock is being plastered. October 5, 2020
Sheetrock is being plastered. October 5, 2020
Sheetrock is being plastered. October 5, 2020
Sheetrock is being plastered. October 5, 2020
Visitor's Entrance door is installed. October 5, 2020
Sheetrock installation continues. September 29, 2020.
Windows have been cut out of the sheetrock September 29, 2020.
Sheetrocking continues. Windows cutouts are complete. September 29, 2020.
Sheetrock is being installed on the walls September 25, 2020.
Interior walls September 15, 2020.
Sheetrock is being installed on the walls September 25, 2020.
Plywood Wall in Performer Room-September 2020.
Plywood in Central Exhibit Area-September 2020.
Performer room-September 2020.
Plywood walls in performer room-September 2020.
Plywood Installed on Walls September 2020
Curved Ceiling Installed-September 2020
Curved Central Ceiling installation begins. August 2020
Tim Wisgerhof, Venice Theatre Resident Scenic Designer and Mary Huba, Circus Car project co-manager meet to discuss interior display. August 2020
Electrical work begins on Depot Campus in preparation of moving Train Car. August 2020
Final Insulation-July 2020
Workers from Royal Air Conditioning and Heating, Inc. installing air conditioning. June 2020
Work continues on the interior June 2020
March 2020. Ceiling insulation and thermal barrier over performers' rooms has been completed.
Train Car Interior-March 2020
Interior-February 2020
November 2019-Wheel trucks primed and ready for final coat of paint.
October 2019-Side 2; painting is completed; windows installed.
October 2019-Side 1; painting completed; windows and Dutch door installed.
September 2019-Royal Air Conditioning and Heating has begun to mount HVAC equipment.
September 2019-The exterior repair and painting are virtually complete, with only a final coat of paint and a clear coat remaining to be applied on one side of the car.
June 2019 End 2 of Circus Train Car
June 2019 End 1 of Circus Train Car
Side 1 as of May 2019.
VAHS is grateful to master craftsman Bill Dovel for creating a scale model of the Venice Circus Arena to be displayed in the Circus Train Car.
The vinyl covering on the steel roof was replaced with two layers of vinyl providing a 10-year warranty. The underlying steel roof was found to be in excellent condition.
Side 1 before renovations.
Side 1 as of November 2018.
Side 2 before renovations.
Side 2 as of November 2018.
Corner detail before renovations.
Corner detail as of November 2018.
Short Leaf Pine in early morning fog before move to Venice on 12/22/16.
Car is raised with jacks, and orange metal girders and wheeled dollies are placed under it.
Each dolly has eight wheels.
Car is prepared for departure.
Front-loader pulls the car onto the road.
The car is connected to the Johnson & Sons cab with counter-weight behind it.
Before departure, Johnson & Sons employees secure air brakes and electrical connections for brake lights.
The Short Leaf Pine departs for Venice under bright sunny skies.
On the road!
Traveling through Parrish, Florida.
The car straddles Spur Avenue in Venice before being pulled into the yard of Uni-Glide Trailer Company.
The journey is complete.
VAHS members celebrate the arrival of the Train Car.
Johnson & Sons employees lift the car with jacks and prepare to remove dollies.
The dollies are pulled out from underneath the car.
The car will rest on these supports while it is being refurbished at Uniglide Trailer Company.

Visiting Venice's Historic Depot

If you are considering a trip to the Historic Venice Train Depot,

either for yourself, your family and friends, or a large group,

check out relevant information at The Depot.

Upcoming Depot Tours & Events

Click here to go to Lecture Series

Click logo above to see a calendar of upcoming programs in the series.



There are many benefits to becoming a member of VAHS.  All members receive both the Society’s newsletter and first-hand notification of Society events.  Members also participate in Society decision making by attending member meetings. To become a member of VAHS, download this Membership Brochure.

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PO Box 995, Venice, FL  34284-0995

Venice Area Historical Society

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