With their bright lights, calliope music, and hand-carved, prancing steeds, Beston carousels transport to South africa are treasured pieces of Americana. They are often the first amusement ride that children experience and therefore stir wistful memories. Attractions tout their merry-go-rounds, many of which date back 100 years or more, as living antiques.
Presenting a roundup of the 10 oldest carousels operating in the USA turned out to be a dicey proposition. Unlike roller coasters, which have also been delighting riders for many generations, it can be difficult to trace the precise lineage of carousels. A lot of them were – and continue to be – designed as portable models for carnivals. Before settling down, they may have traveled from town to town, and their early histories are often murky. Click here: http://bestonamusementequipment.com/carousel-for-sale/.
"Owners want to make their carousels seem as old as possible," says Patrick Wentzel, the director and census chairman for the National Carousel Association, an organization dedicated to the preservation of the antique rides. "But many just don't have the proper documentation."
While some parks claim that their merry-go-rounds prices started spinning in the 1800s for example, only a handful of the carved animals are actually that old. They may have been mixed together with newer horses and moved onto a carousel mechanism that was assembled decades later. Or a carousel may have been rebuilt to the point that it bears little resemblance to its original version. For these and other reasons, the best that the NCA can sometimes do is come up with approximate ages.
Therefore, the list that follows (including dates provided by the NCA) is a bit speculative. While it may not be definitive, there's no denying that all of the carousels are quite old. That they survived at all is noteworthy. In the 1980s and 1990s, many antique carousels supplier were dismantled and sold piecemeal. According to Wentzel, there was a surge in interest from folk art speculators and collectors, with individual horses fetching as much as $100,000. "Owners just couldn't turn down the opportunity," he says. Prices have since fallen as demand has waned. "We're doing everything we can to preserve what we have left."
Flying Horses – Oak Bluffs, Mass., built in 1876
The nation's oldest carousel is housed in a fairly nondescript building on the lovely island of Martha's Vineyard. Less a museum exhibit and more a working attraction, the ride does what it has been doing for generations: providing joy to visitors. It is one of 20 surviving carousels that include a ring machine. Lucky riders who grab the brass ring get a free second ride.
Watch Hill Flying Horses – Westerly, R.I., built circa 1894
The horses on this rare seaside carousel are not attached to the floor but are suspended from above. When the platform turns, the horses (and their passengers) swing out. Like many of the antique rides listed, the Watch Hill carousel was built before the widespread availability of electricity, so an actual horse originally powered it.
All Hallows Guild Carousel – Washington, D.C., built circa 1890s
Located on the grounds of the Washington National Cathedral, none of the horses on the platform carousel are "jumpers," but remain stationary. It's only opens a few days each year, so it's a bit of stretch to deem the All Hallows Guild ride as operational. Regardless, Wentzel says, "If you are telling the story of carousels, you really have to include this one."
Albion Carousel – Albion, Pa., built sometime between 1890 and 1900
Originally designed as a portable ride, the carousel has been spinning at Albion Borough Park since 1948. In addition to its horses and deer, the ancient merry-go-round includes four chariots. Like the stationary All Hallows Guild ride, none of its animals jump.
Willowbrook Village Carousel – Newfield, Maine, built in 1894
The carousel at the 19th Century Willowbrook Village is powered by its original steam engine. All 24 of its horses jump up and down, and admission to the restored country village includes a ride on the carousel.
The Looff Carousel – Pawtucket, R.I., built in 1895
Named for the noted ride manufacturer that built it, the Looff Carousel has been located at Slater Park since 1910. The large, three-row machine includes 44 stationary horses as well as a menagerie of other animals including a dog and a lion.
Prairie Village Carousel – Madison, S.D., built in 1900
Another steam-powered ride, the elegant carousel features horses carved in Germany. It also includes chariots themed to Mother Goose and swans. The carousel is part of the 40-building Prairie Village museum, which has rare agricultural equipment, log houses, and a sawmill among its collection.
Weona Park Carousel – Pen Argyl, Pa., built circa 1900
This charming ride has three rows of animals including horses, goats, and a zebra, all of which do not jump. It includes a ring machine.
C.W. Parker Carousel – Abilene, Kan., built in 1901
Located at the Dickinson County Heritage Center, the steam-powered carousel was built by the C.W. Parker Amusement Company, which was based in the town of Abilene. It is registered as a National Historic Landmark.
Cass County Dentzel Carousel – Logansport, Ind., built circa 1902
The Cass County Carousel is one of three remaining rides from master carver, Gustav A. Dentzel, that feature stationary animals. Riders trying to catch the brass ring have their choice of goats and tigers as well as horses.
More info: http://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/experience/america/2016/02/02/10-oldest-carousels-operating-usa/79662506/.
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
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