On April 17 of this year, San Diego lost their second great carousel. This particular cast-off was the famous 1890 Broadway Flying Horses at Seaport Village. It sold at auction for a very low $650,000 (in the 80’s a similar carousel sold for $800,000). The name of the buyer, and his plans for the carousel, were not disclosed. He had a representative there to bid for him and she was not open to questions about the carrousels future. The bidding opened at $500,000, by a retired carnival owner from the southern California area. He also owns a 1980’s Chance machine that was used in the movie "Face Off." A second bidder made an offer of $600,000, and then the final bid of $650,000 was placed. There was no sales tax charged after all.

The Broadway Flying Horses carousel was part of a family trust established by the late Morris Taubman, developer of Seaport Village. Bank officials in charge of the trust decided to sell the carousel to pay taxes on the estate. William F. Mangels manufactured the platform and mechanics for the carousel, while ex-furniture maker Charles Looff hand-carved the 40 horses, three dogs and three goats. The dogs and goats reside on the outside row and are stationary. After the Mangels-Looff carousel was construction it operated at Coney Island, N.Y. for a short time, and then was relocated to Salisbury Beach, Mass. It remained on the East Coast until Taubman bought the carousel in 1977 and moved it to San Diego. The carousel and band organ were restored before being installed at Seaport Village in 1980. In 2002, the mechanical parts of the carousel also underwent an overhaul. The cost of that upgrade was somewhere around $280,000 Approximately 225,000 people a year rode the merry-go-round over the past three years for $2 a ride. And millions more have ridden since it was first placed at Seaport Village. For those of us lucky enough to have been one of those people, the memories will last a lifetime.

Dennis Towndrow