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A Special Visit to Pueblo City's 1911 Carousel Print E-mail
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Monday, 16 November 2009

By Grace Spengler
Special to The Carousel News & Trader

Our visit to the historic Pueblo City Park Parker #72 /Stein & Goldstein carousel began with an article: “Saddle Up Some History” in the Denver Post’s Denver & the West–Colora do Sunday section printed on May 24, 2009.

The write up was in conjunction with the Colorado Carousel Society’s “Ride Five” promotion. The Post’s Claire Martin listed all 11 of the carousels in Colorado (Vintage, Reproduction, New and Future carousels) with a snippet of information about each. This feature was a good reminder that Pueblo’s City Park carousel had been on my “must see” list for a while.


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The fish-scale armored Stein & Goldtein horse on the 1911 C. W. Parker carousel.


So, the Post article inspired my family and I to take a trip, though the first complication came in because the trip would have to be a “day trip,” which eliminated viewing the carousel during its hours of normal operation which are only in the evenings.

After a couple of false starts, we selected our visit day and arrangements had to be made.

I used the parks department email to contact the Pueblo Assistant City Manager of Recreation who was kind enough to schedule a private visit during the morning just for us. The Pueblo Park Area Coordinator, Mr. Daugherty, was our marvelous tour guide and he came out specially to let us in.

There was one reason why I really wanted to see this carousel: the Stein & Goldstein outer row horses. This is probably as close as I can get to a Coney Island style ride without flying out to the east coast.

Some cautions if you want to plan your own trip to this carousel. The operating hours are only in the evenings this season, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., and they are closed on Mondays. Also, the carousel building is a full enclosure and the ride is located behind locked gates – thus our need to arrange to have it opened up.

The visit was great fun. I had ample time to take all the pictures I could want, including some shots of the inner workings and the paintings. We also got an exclusive ride with the organ playing its “happiest music on earth” in the background. That was a thrill, as I did not expect the ride to be fired up for just three visitors.

Mr. Daugherty was friendly, knowledgeable about the ride, and had a wealth of information about the trials and tribulations of keeping up a carousel that runs in a public place. They had apparently just done work on the overhead crank system and were looking at the gear workings for their next “needs some maintenance work” project. He mentioned that local artists did all of the door art, rounding board art and center pole paintings as part of the community restoration effort.

Another fun installation in the carousel building are the fun house mirrors that were also salvaged from Lake Minnequa Park. Apparently these were from the 1890s and the glass is extremely thick. They are the classic sorts of fun house mirror, the ones that distort your reflection in various ways. They are placed at intervals around the inner walls and they make the view twist in interesting ways as the ride revolves.

The carousel is not the only ride, there are a number of Kiddie attractions in the same fenced off area. Among the eight rides I could see are a small rollercoaster, a rocket swing ride, a mini-train, and a small Ferris wheel.
This carousel has an interesting history, as the horses rode on previous carousels before being united on #72.
The 12 outside horses are a long way from were they were originally carved, being Stein & Goldstein (S&G) horses thought to have been carved around 1907. The consensus is that these horses were installed on the carousel when it was refurbished in 1914 as they have the “11worth” horseshoes.

The 24 inside horses, the Dragon Chariot and the Lover’s Tub were from the C.W. Parker factory. The horses are thought to date from 1902, probably originally having been installed on a “Track Type” carousel.
They are in the older Abilene style as opposed to the Leavenworth look.

How these two diverse groups of horses wound up on #72 seems to be a result of renovation and relocation. The Parker horses may or may not have been on the ride when it was originally placed with the Exposition & Amusement Co., from 1911 to 1913.

The delivery price for #72 at this point was $5,160, including a canvas top, steam power generator and a band organ.

As of the next year, the ride was relocated to J. J. McQuillen’s Lake Minnequa Amusement Park in Pueblo. It remained there from 1914 until the end of the season in 1939. The price at this time was $3,075 without the band organ, band organ drive or a tent top.

The organ was purchased separately on May 13, 1914; a #2871 Wurlitzer style 165 was bought for the Skating Pavilion, but seems to have been used with the Merry-Go-Round also. (See November 2008’s The Carousel News & Trader, “American Band Organs: History of The Wurlitzer Style 165” article by Dan Robinson for the details.)

Apparently along with the Stein & Goldstein horses a single Lover’s Tub was added to the ride in 1914 replacing one of the Dragon chariots. The Lover’s Tub was not standard equipment on a Parker Carry-Us-All and thus cost 2-tickets to ride; one more than the horses. There is still one of the chariots that Fred Fried describes as: “a biting battle between a dragon and a python” on the ride. (A Pictorial History of the Carousel, p. 163, Frederick Fried).

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All of these muddled origins make the center-pole sign saying: “Built complete C.W. Parker Abilene, Kan. 1911 Largest & Only Exclusive Manf’r. of Amusement Devices in the World” slightly ironic.

In 1940, the City Commissioner of Parks and Highways arranged for Pueblo Public Park District No. 2 to purchase C.W. Parker #72. The ride was installed south and east of Goodnight Avenue; however it lacked a building to protect it at this point.

In the 1950s the carousel was moved to the City Park Zoo’s birdhouse area, where Kiddie Rides for younger children were offered. The carousel operated in that location until 1981, when the community got behind restoring the carousel. As part of the restoration, the carousel and all the other attractions were moved to their current location.

A private collector offering to buy one of the horses in 1980, apparently fueled the need for a decision by the park department and community as to what to do with C. W. Parker #72. There was much debate about whether to sell and replace the ride or restore and preserve the carousel. I for one, am glad the city decided to hire Will Morton, to do the conservation work. Even this long after the restoration (done in the late 1980s) the animals look wonderful.

At about the same time the restoration was happening, a Wurlitzer Military Band Organ, 1920 style 146, Serial no. 3293, was purchased. The organ was restored by Art Reblitz and Will Morton and still plays great.
I found out most of this information during the visit or through research. Thanks to the authors of: “Lake Minnequa Park 1877-1940” display on the wall of the carousel building and Noreene M. Sweeny, “Peaks & Prairies, Parkers & PTCs 1994 NCA Colorado Convention,” The Carousel News & Trader, Vol. 10, No. 10. October 1994.

The 1911 Parker / Stein & Goldstein Carousel
Pueblo City Park, 3455 Nuckolls Ave, Pueblo, CO 81005. Website at: www.pueblo.us, or call the Pueblo Parks and Recreation Department at (719) 553-2790 or email them at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Cost per ride: 25¢: 2009 hours of normal operation: Memorial to Labor Day: 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Tuesday though Sunday. Closed on Mondays.

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