A fire in northeast Iowa has destroyed the boyhood home of the world-famous Ringling Brothers.

Someone walking by the rural McGregor home discovered the fire Thursday morning. Officials say the structure was fully-engulfed by the time crews arrived and the consider the house a total loss.

A mother and two kids who lived in the home escaped uninjured, along with their three dogs. The Ringling Brothers and their only sister lived out part of their childhood in the home along the Mississippi River from 1860 to 1873. The family eventually moved to Wisconsin, where five of the seven brothers started a small circus in Baraboo.

Charles and John Ringling would later purchase a competing circus founded by P.T. Barnum and James Bailey. The Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus became known as “The Greatest Show on Earth” and operated for 98 years before closing in 2017.

(By Elwin Huffman, KOEL, Waterloo)