Hartford carousel nears its century

May 19, 2013 by  

The Bushnell Park Carousel recently opened for the season and, as one of fewer than 200 wooden carousels in operation today in the United States, it is now just one year away from its 100th birthday.

Carousels have been around in their current form since about the 1840s. The carousel in other forms dates back to almost 500 AD when one was depicted on a Byzantine bas-relief. Thankfully, Hartford residents need not go as far as Turkey to ride one.

The Bushnell Park Carousel is run by the New England Carousel Museum, which is located in Bristol, about 25 minutes from Hartford. The opening celebration late last month focused on family activities, such as face painting, rides on a miniature train through the park, and costumed characters providing entertainment.

The Carousel Museum’s director, Louise DeMars, says the organization is continuing its ‘Countdown to 100’ operation in recognition of the upcoming anniversary.

Designed and built by Harry Goldstein and Solomon Stein, who owned the Artistic Carousel Company in Brooklyn and built 17 carousels over the years, the Bushnell Park offering has more than 30 ‘jumper’ horses (ones that rise and dip), 12 ‘stander’ horses (stationary), and two chariots – all of which revolve to the music of a Wurlitzer organ.

Rides are $1, and the money goes to the upkeep of the carousel and the pavilion that houses it. The carousel operators are sure to want to bring visitors throughout the season, which has just started, so they might consider contacting flyer printing experts to devise a mailer to send to area residents, reminding them the carousel is now open.