brought even more carousel rides and Chicago highlights, as the
Colorado group made their way to KiddieLAND in Melrose Park,
Illinois. The park has been family owned since 1929 and they are
proud of their beautiful PTC #72 carousel. Everyone had a ball
riding and photographing the many signature horses. They also
felt quite privileged to have Marianne Stevens there to point out the
large number 72 on the center pole of the machine.
After leaving KiddieLAND attendees made their way to Lincoln Park Zoo
to see the Carousel Works Endangered Species
There are several carousels of this type at various zoos around the
country. Nonetheless, this particular machine seems to have a
special look and feel. Plus, there was plenty of time on this
tour to ride
one’s favorite piece(s) over and over again.
The next and final stop of the day was the carousel at Chicago’s Navy
Designed exclusively for the Pier by Fabricon Carousel Co. of New York,
this merry-go-round recreates the nostalgic feel of the 1920s, when an
older wooden machine charmed a previous generation of visitors.
36 hand-painted animals were designed to represent the different styles
used throughout the history of the carousel. A sea monster, lion,
cat, and playful frog are just some of the creatures you will find
revolving around the ride. The rounding boards of the Navy Pier
carousel include hand-painted scenes that represent the Pier’s history
Carousel Works’ Endangered
Lincoln Park Zoo - Chicago, Illinois
Billie Noren prepares for one
last ride on this very cool carousel ^
^ Lynn Collins on a goat? --
Go figure ....
Navy Pier - Chicago, Illinois
Carmel Sea Monster
three started with a visit to Lisa Parr’s restoration
studio. Here the group had a rare opportunity to see some of
Lisa’s work and to visit with renowned carousel author, Tobin
Fraley. When attendees weren’t viewing the great carousel figures
on hand, or having Tobin autograph their books, they were participating
in a contest to see who could find the most rabbits around the Parr’s
house. Billie Noren was the winner, with a count of 157.
Lisa Parr’s Restoration Studio and
Next the agenda moved from a carousel nature, to a more typical
tourist type adventure. The afternoon started with a Lake
Michigan boat tour and
ended with a shopping trip on famous Michigan Avenue. Both
activities gave members a genuine flavor of Chicago
It wasn’t long however before they found themselves back in their real
element, surrounded by carousel figures. This time the venue was
a restaurant. A restaurant full of surprises that is.
Although they heard there were a “few” privately owned pieces inside,
CCS members had no idea the magnitude of what they were about to
see. There were over 20 figures in total – many of which were
very rare Frederick Heyn pieces. For some this was the first time
they had seen or
even heard of a Heyn Sea Monster (Dragon). For others was the
they had seen a Heyn piece of any kind. The Barn of Barrington
Restaurant was truly a grand finale to a wonderful three-day Chicago
Visit with Renowned Carousel Author,
Lisa Parr (far right)
explains the rules of the great rabbit hunt.
Lisa's Limonaire Freres (Paris) carrousel Rabbit
Tobin signs Renee's carousel
Barn of Barrington Restaurant
Rare Frederick Heyn pieces
were just some of the many carousel figures
hiding behind these restaurant walls.
Milwaukee by caravan …
Day one of the
Milwaukee tour started with a visit to an amazing private
collection. Guests were able to view over 30 carousel figures by
of carvers. The hosts of this astounding display even arranged
several pieces to help novices differentiate between Armitage
Herschell, Dare and Parker carvings. Once again the hospitality
and carousel expertise was overwhelming.
The next stop on the agenda was the charming Waterloo Carousel
of Waterloo, Wisconsin. Purchased from the Curtis Brothers Carnival in
1925, this 1911 Parker carousel has been running in beautiful Firemen's
Park since that time. It is comprised of 28 jumping horses, 2
chariots and a 1915 North Tonawanda band organ. The carousel was
listed in the National Register of Historic Places and National
Historical Register in 1997. It also received the NCA Historical
Carousel Award in 2002. Restoration of the carousel was
accomplished by Lisa Parr between 1987 and 1991.
Something has to be said about carousel people and their
generosity. Once again, the Colorado visitors were not allowed to
leave town without first having a bite to eat. In this case, the
food was “forgotten cake” and the gracious hosts were Gordon and Margo
Cronin – long-time operators of the Waterloo carousel. Gordon
even escorted the group to the perfect place to catch a glimpse of
their carousel-decorated water tower.
Just down the road from Waterloo is the small town of Marshall,
Wisconsin – home of the Little A-Merrick-A Amusement Park and a 1950’s
metal Allan Herschell merry-go-round. Every place seems to have
their own special charm when in comes to carousels and Little
A-Merrick-A was no exception.
The final stop of the day was the famous Ella’s Deli in
Madison, Wisconsin and their unique 1927 Parker/Who knows what
carousel. Ella’s ice cream
parlor and café really is a fascinating place.
Furthermore, the delightful merry-go-round outside makes for a great
ride -- both before and after dinner.
Milwaukee Area Private Collection
Just who did carve that
carousel horse anyway? Our Milwaukee area
hosts explain the differences.
1911 Parker Carousel
Firemen's Park - Waterloo, Wisconsin
Donna Bowlin, riding her own
special painted pony. ^
A patriotic rounding board,
some good old “forgotten cake” with Gordon
Cronin, and very cool carousel-decorated water tower.
could a person want?
1950’s Metal Allan Herschell
Little A-Merrick-A - Marshall, Wisconsin
Janie Rossitto on her very
fast moving zebra ^
Ella’s Deli - Madison, Wisconsin
From the carousel outside, to
the hundreds of moving gadgets and gizmos
inside, one just has to love Ella's Deli.
of the Milwaukee tour started with what is undoubtedly the most
controversial carousel on the planet. With over 20,000 lights and
269 handcrafted animals, this 80-foot diameter, 35-ton merry-go-round
has been called everything from “spectacular” to “grotesque.” But
either way you slice it, you can’t help but feel there is a lot
history behind the making of the House on the Rock Carousel.
Another characteristic that make this carousel unique is that it
doesn't serve as an interactive piece that can be
ridden. And with all the animals on the carousel, there is not a
horse. Instead, over 1,300 equine figures are mounted on the
walls of the massive merry-go-round building.
After spending most of the day at House on the Rock, the group
eventually made there way to the Wisconsin Dells, just in time to catch
a bite to eat and get a good night’s sleep.
House on the Rock Carousel
Spring Green, Wisconsin
controversial carousel on the planet? -- What do you think ...
^ 1,300+ Horses Mounted on
Walls --------------------- House
on the Rock - Doll Carousel ^
three's agenda gave some CCS members the chance to sleep in a
bit. Others chose to visit Wisconsin
Dells' fiberglass merry-go-rounds at Riverview Park, Carousel Inn &
Suites, and Tommy Bartlett’s Gyrotron.
By noon the Colorado group had assembled once again.
This time they gathered along a parade route rather than a
carousel. It was “The Great Circus Parade,” produced and staged
by the Circus World Museum of Baraboo, Wisconsin. With its 5
antique circus wagons, 15 bands, 1200 costumed participants, 350
equines and nearly two-dozen exotic animals, the parade exhibited a
true historical re-creation of the lavish American
circus street parades from over a century ago.
Circus World Museum is just around the corner from the parade route
and consequently was the next stop on the tour. Once on the
members had the chance to explore the extensive visitors center,
examine the many circus wagons, witness a fantastic Big Top Circus, and
of course ride the Museum’s c.1917 Herschell-Spillman carousel.
This merry-go-round is a 2 row, portable, with 24 Jumping Horses
(including 2 bucking broncos), 2 chariots, and band organ. It has
been at Circus World since 1967.
c.1917 Herschell-Spillman Carousel
Circus World Museum - Baraboo, Wisconsin
2005 CCS tour came to an end
attendees exchanged stories over dinner and made plans for a reunion
later in the year.
And in fact the group did get together once again in July to exchange
stories, pictures, and plans for a possible trip next year. One
member even came from New York in order to be part of the reunion,
while another non-attendee came from California to hear all about what
she had missed.
The Colorado Carousel Society was born in 1983 in the minds of four
visionaries who realized that Colorado was home to five (now six)
magnificent antique carousels. They also believed there was
enough interest in this area to form an organization that would be
dedicated to their preservation, restoration and maintenance, as well
as to encourage an appreciation for the history and art of the carousel.
With that in mind, the Colorado Carousel Society is committed to
developing a partnership between collectors of carousel carvings and
operating carousel supporters here in Colorado. In fact, one of
our members serves as liaison to each of our whirling antiques in order
to keep us all informed as to their well-being. Society members enjoy
several activities throughout the year. Highlighted by our annual
springtime picnic-in-the-park, held at one of Colorado’s operating
carousels, as well as our autumn house tour of members’ private
We also offer our membership a quarterly publication, “the brass
ring.” In the past, the society has provided carousel carvings
for display at both the Colorado Historical Museum, and in the lobby of
the headquarters of Coors Brewery in Golden. Most of our members
also belong to the National Carousel Association. Therefore, we
also represent a valuable nationwide network of interest, knowledge and
The CCS would like to invite carousel enthusiasts from around the
country to become members of this fine organization. For a
membership form you can visit http://chasingmerrygorounds.com/CCS.html
or write to: Colorado Carousel Society, Attn: Gina Quakenbush, 2341
Garrison Street, Lakewood Colorado 80216-1637
PLEASE NOTE: Individual/Family membership dues are currently $20
dollars, but will increase to $25 in 2006.