Saturday, September 20, 2008

New addition to web site gallery

One of the many horses and exotic animals on the 95-year-old carousel at historic Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan. The carousel with its WurliTzer band organ is a favorite attraction and operates during village hours.

Built in 1913 by Herschell-Spillman in North Tonawanda, New York it is a rarity with its wide variety of hand carved animals. Besides the usual stable of horses it boasts a collection of exotic jungle beasts as well as farm and domestic animals.

Here is a "census":

21 Jumping Horses, 19 Menagerie Animals, 3 chariots, 1 Tub

(1 Cat, 1 Deer, 2 Dogs, 1 Dragon, 1 Frog, 2 Giraffes, 1 Goat, 1 Lion, 2 Pigs, 1 Stork, 1 Tiger, 2 Zebras, 3 Roosters)

Village literature states that the original location of this carousel is unknown but, according to the National Carousel Association (NCA) research it was at:
- Barbary Coast in San Francisco from 1913 - 1922
- Liberty Lake Park, Spokane, WA, 1923 to 1950s?
- Storage, Date Unknown to 1962
- Unknown, Roswell, NM, 1962 to 1973
- Greenfield Village, Dearborn, MI, 1973 to present

This photo was taken about 8 years ago when the carousel was located near the river boat. That location has been expanded and is now home to the Henry Ford Academy. The carousel was dismantled and moved to its present, more central, location next to the Sir John Bennett Sweet Shop (with the animated clock tower).
During the move the entire carousel was repaired and all the animals were "refurbished." In my opinion, the repairs were much needed, but the animals deserved better treatment. As you can see in this "before" photo, there is no mistake that it is a hand-carved, hand-finished work of art. To see them today you would think they were plastic. The formerly white horses and the white fur on the tiger are now a sickly yellow, and most other colors and finishes bear little resemblance to the original.

Click here to see the NCA's photo survey of the entire carousel:

For more info on Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village visit:

This photo is now available in the "Michigana" Gallery at the web site. Pin It Now!

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