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~A Little Early Carousel History~

The earliest visual record of a carousel is a
Byzantine bas-relief circa 500 AD, which shows
riders swinging in baskets, tied to a centerpole.
Fifteenth and early 17th century drawing depict similar scenes.

The name "carousel" is derived from the Italian
and Spanish words garosello and carosella which
mean "little war" and describe a serious game
played on horseback in Arabia and Turkey in the 12th century.
The French added lavish displays of clothing and horsemanship to their "carrousels."

Lead Horse Of Geo. W. Johnson Park Carousel
In Endicott..

"Carousel Capital Of The World"

~Broome County~
Binghamton, Endicott, and Johnson City, New York

Between 1919 and 1934, George F. Johnson (1857-1948),
shoe manufacturer and great benefactor, donated
six beautiful carousels to the local parks.
Johnson's commitment to recreation was always
more than just good business.

He felt carousels contributed to a happy life and
would help youngsters grow into strong and useful citizens.

Because of his own poor childhood, "George F."
believed carousels should be enjoyed by everyone
and insisted that the municipalities never charge money for a magic ride.

Now, into their seventh decade, these magnificent
machines still spin from Memorial Day to Labor
Day at no charge or for an admission of "one piece of litter."
In a day when nothing is free, they boast it's
the world's greatest entertainment bargain!

The carousels, were all manufactured by the Allan
Herschell Companies of North Tonawanda, New York, in the "country fair" style.

And, if you are lucky enough to ride on all six
merry-go-rounds, you will be delighted by gorilla
chariots, horses with hidden lions in the saddle
blankets, a pig, and even a dog.
Not to worry, every carousel animal in Broome County is a "jumper!"

You can "Ride the Carousel Circuit" by collecting
a card at each carousel, and when you have all
six you'll receive a special button.

What is even more remarkable is that of the fewer
than 170 woodcarved antique carousels remaining
in the United States and Canada, six are in Broome County, New York! "1999 Carousel Festival"

Because of the uniqueness of these carousels and
the incomparable circumstances of their survival
and existence, all six are placed on the New York
State Historic Register and the National Register of Historic Places.

A Carousel Museum exhibit is located at Ross Park Zoo in Binghamton.
The current exhibit explores the history of
carousel making, George F. Johnson's role in the
carousel collection and specific information on the Herschell machines.

Several of the carousels are undergoing
painstaking restoration projects. The costly
refurbishing of these priceless machines further
attests to the commitment of the community to
preserve these cultural legacies for future generations to enjoy.

~Click On Picture For More Carousel Music~

A "VIP" Visitor At The Village Of Endicott Rotunda Display..

~Holyoke Carousel~

Holyoke, Mass.

At the turn of the century, there were more than 6,000 carousels.
Storms, fire, neglect and profiteers have reduced
that number and today less than 100 "grand" carousels exist.

And, Holyoke has one... the carousel, PTC #80 was
built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company in 1929.

Each lifelike steed was hand carved by expert
craftsmen from Italy and Germany.

Their genius created the world's surest way to
thrill the child in all of us then, now, and
forever... the merry-go-round.

They call it Holyoke's Happiness Machine!

The band organ is also a rare gem. Made by the
Artizan Co. in New York, it is still producing
those sweet and brassy tunes that we associate
with the merry-go-round.

The carousel, with its magnificent 48
hand-carved, hand-painted, antique wooden horses
and two spectacular chariots have been
reassembled in a gorgeous new pavilion at Holyoke Heritage State Park
Similar in design to its original home at Mountain Park.


From The Holyoke Carousel

Cottage Group Fantasy Graphics