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When I was a little girl I used to go to Riverside Park on 1623 Main St. in Agawam, Mass. 01001 Riverside, the largest amusement park in New England, it is an exciting mix of action packed rides and crowd pleasing shows and attractions. In addition, Riverside features the professional competition of NASCAR auto racing.


Thanks to Mike's Videos for reminding us of how much fun this is. I loved the Riverside Park Illions Carousel. Riverside Park Illions Carousel


Carousels, The Art of the Carousel
The fanciful carousels has charmed people of all ages and of all lands, but it reached its most outstanding success and beauty through the talent and creativity of American craftsmen. In the late nineteenth century, during an energetic period of cultural self-discovery, American artists, architects and sculptors broke from European tradition to seek their own direction and freedom of expression. This artistic Renaissance resulted in carousel sculptures of such quality and originality that, today, they are an important and respected American art form. Take a whirl on a carousel. Observe, appreciate, and treasure the unique magic and artistic splendor of this wondrous ride.


A carousel is sometimes called a merry-go-round. Is an amusement ride. And has a rotating circular platform with seats for riders. The seats are traditionally in the form of rows of wooden horses or other animals mounted on posts, many of which are moved up and down by gears to simulate galloping, to the accompaniment of looped circus music. The golden age of the carousel in America was the early 20th century, with large machines and elaborate animals, chariots, and decorations being built.
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Carousel art carving

Created between 1867 and 1930, has long been neglected as an Art Form.  Only recently has it come to the attention of students of both Art and History.  The best carousels were American, not European.  However, the craftsmen were nearly all recent immigrants whose work reflected what coming the American meant to them.  European Carousel horses were stiff and stereotyped.  American horses were carved in amazing variety with dramatic and free-flowing styles that embodied the essence of the American Spirit.

Art of the Carousel

Two Stein & Goldstein Steeds
Stein Horse Above, the rose-adorned lead horse, by Stein & Goldstein, on Pueblo, Colorado's Parker Carousel, #72 Goldstein Jumper An outside-row Stein & Goldstein jumper from Pueblo's Parker Carousel, #72

Photos by C. Hennig, 1994

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Carousels In America


The story of the carousel, or merry-go-round, in America traces back to the mid-19th century when Gustav Dentzel, a German immigrant, opened the G.A. Dentzel Steam and Horsepower Carousel Company. During this time, carousels were considered the premier amusement ride.  While more than 7,000 carousels were once created, fewer than 300 are still in use that were built in American factories.  The Depression, fires, floods and neglect caused the deterioration of the magnificent machines.


The amusement park entered its golden era with the 1893 World's Colombian Exposition in Chicago. This World's Fair introduced the Ferris Wheel and the amusement midway to the world. The midway, with its wide array of rides and concessions, was a huge success and dictated amusement park design for the next sixty years. The following year, Capt. Paul Boynton borrowed the midway concept and opened the world's first modern amusement park - Paul Boynton's Water Chutes on Chicago's South side. The success of his Chicago park inspired him to open a similar facility at the fledgling Coney Island resort in New York in 1895.

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Merry-Go-Round Poetry
Seabreeze Carousel, by Emily A. Kolb March 31, 1994

It will
never rise from
the ashes, this Phoenix
on hooves, whose undisturbed past now becomes
our own.

She spun
a web of by-gone
fantasy for decades
of dreamers, mesmerized by her

Just as
her grandeur shone
for all to see, so her
funeral pyre burned bright and

There are
treasures that can
not be burned, written only
in the heart, safe from the world for
all time.

Seabreeze Carousel, by Emily A. Kolb March 31, 1994
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The golden age of the carousel

The golden age of the carousel lasted twenty five years.  It originated in Europe, but America is where its highest achievement of craftsmanship developed.  Carved and created by immigrant craftsmen at their highest level.  California and New York have most of all existing carousels in America.  The only two that exist in Tennessee that I know of are: