Monday, June 27, 2011

The Carousel



     As a small child, I was always fascinated by carousel horses. Every time the circus would come to town or a carnival, I always looked to see if they had a carousel. If they did, I was always the first one in line to ride these wooden horses.

Here is a brief history on how the carousel horse first got started.

"The carousel was born from a popular game played on horseback.
What we are familiar with as a carousel ride today, originated from a
game played in the 1100s by Arabian and Turkish men on horseback. It gained the name of garosello or carosella ("little war") by Italian and Spanish spectators, who later introduced the game in Europe, where it was refined by the French. The carousel became even more advanced in the 1700s when steam was used to power the machines. What is considered the golden age of carousels, from the 1860s to the 1930s, changed their quality and look. New animals were introduced including jungle animals, teddy bears and mythical creatures to name a few. Regardless of its renewed state, fewer than 150 carousels from the "golden age" exist in the United States today.
"Carousels not only depict horses, but often a variety of animals.
Gustav Dentzel was one of the earliest designers of carousels in the United States, with a distinct
style that depicted horses and others animals in a realistic manner (known as Philadelphia style). His carousels tended to be large with quality carving and were consistent in the style of animals, making his machines recognizable. The menagerie animals were thought to be created by Dentzel's head carver, Salvatore Cernigliaro. Dentzel carousels can be found throughout the United States and Canada.
   Read more: Carousel Horses History |

Story by: Courtney Still

      To date, I have been fortunate to ride numerous carousels in various states. One such carousel that I have recently ridden is right here in the city of Saint Augustine, Florida. This carousel is called the J & S Carousel at Davenport Park. Here is a brief history of this ride.

In 1927 the carousel was built and was known as the C.W. Parker Carousel. Then bought by a Ringling Brothers circus performer, Gerard Soules for $25,000 from a barn in Mystique, Michigan the carousel went to a zoo in Fort Wayne, Indiana. His brother James Soules, who is still the owner today

inherited the carousel after Gerard’s death in 1992, who restored it with help from Carl Theel of Theel Manufacturing. Finally James Soules brought the carousel to Davenport Park in 1994 and it has remained since, the J&S Carousel.

Fun for children of all ages the carousel consists of horses and a camel. All are fantastically painted, very colorful, and easy to ride. The horses and camel go up and down and it is only $1 to ride. Old-fashioned music plays throughout the J&S Carousel that puts you back in the day of old time circuses and county fairs. Located in Davenport Park between San Marco Avenue and US 1 at San Carlos Avenue, next to the Public Library building.


      I have also been on the carousel horses at Wolfchase Mall in Memphis, Tennessee. This is a beautiful carousel that is at the main entrance by the food court.
By: adgray2k

      Crossroads Village in Flint, Michigan is another favorite place to visit when I go home to visit my family. Here is a brief history and website to visit.

Crossroads Village Flint, Michigan
Brought to you by
The Friends of Crossroads Village Carousel

Visit the official Genesee County Parks web site for the latest hours and costs.

The whole family can enjoy a full day of fun at the village. We hope you enjoy our website and also hope to see you at the village someday soon. Families with young children should also plan on taking time to visit

Mott Hashbarger Children's Farm which borders the village on the east.
 About the carousel ride at Crossroads

1912 C. W. Parker Carousel

Fun for all ages.

View the carousel pictures.

American amusement king, Charles W. Parker (1864-1932) manufactured the Crossroads Village Carousel at Leavenworth, Kansas in 1912. The acquisition of this beautiful carousel was made possible by a 1983 grant of $175,000 from the C. S. Mott Foundation and it has proven to be a colorful, exciting, and musical addition to historical Crossroads Village.

The Carousel is 40 feet in diameter and is illuminated by 588 7-1/2 watt incandescent bulbs. Features include; 36 handcarved wooden jumping horses in 3 rows, a dragon chariot and four metal kiddie's ponies with a mother's bench. Many of the three sets of inner scenery panels are original. Music is provided by an equally rare Artizan band organ.

For many years this carousel traveled to county fairs, carnivals, and local celebrations throughout the Midwestern and northwestern United States and western Canada. From 1947 through 1978 the carousel found a home in Fairmont Park, Riverside, California. A private collector bought the carousel in 1980 and stored it in Michigan. On July 1, 1983 it was given a new lease on life when it reopened at its' permanent home at historic Crossroads Village. The Village is operated by the Genesee County Parks and Recreation Commission.

The carousel may be the queen of the Village park, but she has noble neighbors. The
C. W. Parker Superior Wheel and the Venetian Swings each have their own appeal. Tickets are sold at the ticket booth located at the front of the carousel building. Tickets for the Genesee Belle are also available at the ticket booth.

     Here are just a few of the other great carousel rides I have been on. Feel free to click on the websites to view the pictures. Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio Cinderella's Golden Carrousel - Magic Kingdom - Walt Disney World

As you can see, I love to ride on these beautiful pieces of art. Someday, I would love to own a wooden carousel horse. For now, I am just going to enjoy their beauty from a distance.


  1. Wow this is indeed some background check!

  2. Thank you for the nice comment.

  3. Carousels are fun to ride.
    I can definately see your love them.
    Great information here!
    Thanks for sharing.