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PTC #49 Carousel at Louisville Zoo Print E-mail
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Friday, 25 July 2008

By Kara Bussabarger
Special to The Carousel News & Trader

LOUISVILLE, KY – In December 1998, Adam Burckle, owner of Adam Matthews Cheesecakes and Second Time Around, both in Louisville, generously restored and gifted the Philadelphia Toboggan Company’s Carousel #49 to the Louisville Zoo in his family’s name.

This turn-of-the-nineteenth century carousel was built in 1919 by Philadelphia Toboggan Company and nick-named “Old 49.”  In the trade, it was designated as a large park machine.  More than 15 tons of wood, iron, gears and wire make up the mechanism to move the 48 figures around and up and down, turning at eight rpm.  


Burckle, a member of the Antique Toy Collectors Association, the National Carousel Association and a long-time admirer of carousels, also funded the restoration of this magnificent carousel.  Burckle’s belief was that “the carousel would add a beautiful enhancement to the Louisville Zoo and provide children, parents, grandparents (and all their relatives) with a wonderful respite in their adventure in the world of wild animals.”
And, since the carousel began its magical circular dance at the Louisville Zoo in 2000, we think he was right.
The Louisville Zoo has been adding carefully hand-carved wooden animals of all kinds, one ring at a time.  The hand-carving is performed at Ed Roth Studios in Long Beach, CA.

The Conservation Carousel at the Louisville Zoo, when completed, will be one-of-a-kind. It will visually bring the message of conservation to each person who sees it and who enjoys a ride on the back of one of the animals. The animals represented on the carousel are all in danger of being lost forever and are all on “endangered lists.”.  We believe that is a powerful message and fits in well with the mission of our zoo of “bettering the bond between people and our planet.”

For young children, the carousel is a gentle introduction to the world of animals; for adults it is a reminder of the need to conserve our rich resources for the next generation.      

There are several ways to help the Louisville Zoo in this mission. The simplest is to visit the zoo and ride the carousel.  All proceeds go towards our conservation efforts.  

For a gift of $3,000, you can own one of the unique fiberglass Philadelphia Toboggan carousel horses. Your gift will benefit the zoo’s most immediate needs.

And, for a tax-deductible gift of $10,000 to $15,000, a hand-carved wooden endangered species animal will be created and placed on the Conservation Carousel.  A permanent marker, specially created by Hadley Pottery of Louisville, will be placed on the carousel recognizing your gift.

More than a dozen figures have already been adopted, carved and mounted on the carousel, but there are still more than three dozen available.


• The PTC #49 was built in 1919 and sold to Clementon Amusement Park.
• It was bought in 1996 by Adam Burckle and moved to Marion, OH, for restoration.
• The machine has three-rows, is 52-feet in diameter with a 45-foot deck.
• There are a total of 48 figures and two chariots.
• The mechanism is all original including the 24-foot tall wooden center pole.
• The rounding boards and shields are original (to be stored at the museum for preservation).
• All inner scenery panels are original (to be stored at the museum for preservation).
• The heart-pine floor is original.

For information on sponsorships, call (502) 238-5389.  For information on the zoo, call (502) 459-2181 or visit:

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