- Associated Press - Sunday, May 14, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - The carousel at The Children’s Museum turns 100 this year. When you consider the century-long journey of the galloping herd, there’s reason to celebrate.

The 32 horses, plus reindeer, giraffes, goats, a tiger and a lion, were handcarved in 1900 by Gustav Dentzel of Philadelphia. There also are two chariots to ride in, for those with queasy stomachs. But it wasn’t until 1917 that the animals came to life on a carousel made by William F. Mangels Co. of Coney Island, N.Y.

In 1906, 61 acres in the 1600 block of Broad Ripple Avenue were opened as White City Amusement Park. The resort was inspired by the exhibit in the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, where building facades were a gleaming white and street lights were used to illuminate the streets, which gave the expo a white glow.

Carnival rides, roller coasters, a midway, Venetian canal and a lagoon ride were among the many attractions to the new park. A large boathouse along the edge of the White River was also added. But just as the 1908 season was beginning, fire destroyed the entire amusement park, with the exception of the newly constructed swimming pool and bath house.

The park was closed until 1911, when it was renovated and reopened by the Union Traction Co. of Indiana.

In 1922, the park was sold and renamed Broad Ripple Amusement Park.

The pavilion that housed the mechanism and scenery collapsed in 1956. A couple of animals strayed, but the majority were placed in various city warehouses, occasionally pulled for use in Christmas displays at University Park and Monument Circle.

In 1965, under the direction of Mildred S. Compton, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis began the exhaustive and years-long search to reunite all of the animals. A 1993 Indianapolis Star editorial noted Compton found several of the horses without their tails. She located real horse tails which she cured in her backyard and then had placed on the carousel horses.

The carousel was assembled on the fourth floor of the museum during construction in 1975. A Wurlitzer carousel organ came from an amusement park in San Francisco. The calliope sound, mixed with tambourines and drums, rounds out the merry-go-round experience. The animals were painstakingly restored in Cincinnati. Their striking colors shine under a canopy of imaginary stars. All but one of the animals is an original Broad Ripple Park carousel feature.

First Lady Betty Ford took a ride on a prancing black stallion on the eve of the museum’s grand opening in 1976. In 1987, the carousel was designated a National Historic Landmark.

“For older generations it’s nostalgia, they remember doing this in amusement parks when they were kids,” said Chris Carron, Director of Collections at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. “Sometimes you have people who can barely walk, but darn it they’re going to get on that carousel,” he added.

The museum will host a centennial celebration of the carousel on July 25 - National Carousel Day.

___

Source: Indianapolis Star, https://indy.st/2qKokeB

___

Information from: The Indianapolis Star, https://www.indystar.com

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide