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~The Pen Argyl Carousel~

Pen Argyl, Pa.

Surely every carousel is charming, but this one defines the term.

It's the "Love At First Sight" machine.

The carousel was first installed at Pen Argyl in 1923.

Weona Park, Pen Argyl, Pa.

At the time it was purchased, the handsome sum of
$6,000 was not quite enough to buy a new machine.
Instead, a circa 1900 machine was refurbished and
sent to Pen Argyl from the Dentzel Carousel
factory in Philadelphia, some 75 miles to the south.

With a 'birth date' of about 1900, this is likely
a Gustav Dentzel carousel, although it was
rebuilt and provided by the William Dentzel Co.

When reselling a machine, the Dentzel factory
would gather animals from various used carousels,
animals that may have been traded in for more
expensive menagerie figures.

The figures would then be painted as a unit and
varnished to create a shiny new carousel.
The animals on this platform come from three
different time periods: the 1890s, about 1905, and about 1917.

The carousel is a rare 'stationary' machine. 
That is, the animals all stand on the platform and do not go up an down.
It carries 44 animals in three rows: 34 horses
and ten menagerie animals.  There is one row of
three deer and another of three giraffes,
including a very special outside row 'leaf eater' giraffe.

~Click On Picture For More Carousel Music~

The carousel is also unusual in that it has one
of the few brass ring machines still in operation.

Great credit is due the American Carousel Society
for launching the restoration now underway.
In 1996, with the support of the mayor of Pen
Argyl and the Carousel Friends Group, the Society
leadership approached accomplished restoration
artist, Lisa Parr, with a proposal to restore one of the giraffes.

The ACS paid for the restoration with monies from
its Preservation Fund in the hope that Pen Argyl
carousel enthusiasts would be pleased with the
result and that sponsors could be found for the
remainder of the restoration project.
Lisa is the perfect choice for the project,
having grown up in Germantown, Philadelphia with
many fond memories of riding the Pen Argyl carousel as a child.

Nearly half the animals have now been restored
thanks to the enthusiastic sponsorship of Pen
Argyl and other carousel fans.  Recently, the
National Carousel Association funded a grant to sponsor a figure.

Much of the restoration work has been done
on-site at the carousel so that residents can
drop by to see their carousel come to life. 
Other work has been done at Lisa's workshop.
Old Parr's, in Highland Park, Illinois.

The borough of Pen Agyl, its mayor and
leadership, the Friends Group, and Park Manager
Steve Bender are to be highly commended for their
efforts to preserve an especially rich part of our national carousel heritage.

Weona Park (We Own A Park) is located in
Pen Argyl, Pennsylvania
About 25 miles northeast of Allentown on Rte. 512, east of Rte. 33.

Open Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 9 p.m. from Memorial Day to Labor Day. 

Cottage Group Fantasy Graphics