Historic carousel comes home - Philadelphia News

August 7, 2008 3:07:41 PM PDT
An historic carousel has returned home to Philadelphia after decades...but getting it here, and in working condition has been a labor of love. "Some of the best carousels in the U.S. come from Germantown Avenue, and it's about time we remember that," says Nancy Kolb, president and CEO of the Please Touch Museum.

After an impressive makeover, the Philadelphia Carousel is returning to its hometown, to a 9,000 square-foot glass pavilion on the east side of Memorial Hall.

"We're taking this building and giving it the respect that it ahs earned over the last 130 years."

The Carousel, built by the Dentzel Carousel Co. of Germantown, made it's debut at Woodside Park in West Philadelphia in 1924.

Many of the horses and other animals on it, date as far back as 1908.

It was purchased by the Smithsonian Institution in the early 1960's, then ended up in a warehouse in Massachusetts for more than 40 years.

Two years ago, the man in charge of restoring it brought it to his home in Marion Ohio.

"To be able to work on something like this and be part of it, it's very high on the list," said restoration expert Todd Goines.

So far this week, 14 of the carousel's 52 animals have been installed. A pair of pigs, two goats, and ten horses, styled by a variety of carvers from as far back as 1908.

"Before the jumping mechanism was invented, carousels just went round and round, so all the horses prior to 1902 were all stationary."

30 more horses, four cats and four rabbits will be added to the carousel in the coming weeks. And all the workers now have their names signed inside the carousel house. It's that kind of project.

"Everybody who has anything to do with it is going to say, you know, I worked on that."

And as the Please Touch Museum prepares to make it's home here, Memorial Hall seems to have come alive again.

"So the building is really happy now. It looks good, knows it looks good."

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