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Written by Dan Horenberger   
Wednesday, 17 January 2007

Message from the publisher, Dan Horenberger

This month the folks at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in California bought the original Wurlitzer 165 band organ from the Looff carousel at San Francisco Playland at the Beach Park. It had been in a collectors hands for years. 165 band organs are the biggest Wurlitzer organs used on carousels. It will be up and running this spring while the original Ruth organ undergoes a complete restoration.
A lot more to come on this story later. Its great to see parks like Santa Cruz and Myrtle Beach not only restore, but also add more organs to their parks.

J & S Carousel after the accident.

During the last election, voters passed a proposition to award the Tilden Park Carousel with a grant. Thank you to all of the citizens that voted to make the money available. Right now there is no news on exactly what the money will be used for, but most likely a much needed new platform will be atop their wish list. The current platform is an expanded three-row to four-row painted floor. A new wooden platform would bring Tilden up to grade with all of the other Bay Area carousels; one of the most concentrated areas of restored carousels you can find.

Astroland Amusement Park on Coney Island has been sold to make room for a huge redevelopment of 10-acres along the boardwalk.  Plans include a three-story carousel and a roller coaster going through the buildings. The development company, headed by Stanton Eskstut, said about the coaster  What were sketching right now is to how to bring it into the water park, bring it around the cinema lobbies, and integrate it around the carousel.  With a budget of $1.5 billion and an opening date of 2011, this is all well down the road.  Well see what happens. Like a lot of redevelopment ideas, they sound good and may look good on paper, but the actual fruition is another story. Having a city front that much money is yet to be seen. The good news is that the Cyclone Roller Coaster has been saved and will continue to operate.

The Bells Amusement Park in Tulsa is still fighting to stay at the fairgrounds. Plans have been made for the removal of the park. It sounds a lot like Libertyland in Memphis. The park has been asked to open their books and a decision will be made from there. Just like Libertyland, this park has pressure from land management for the value of the property against the income. Small parks have a tough enough time making it, and cities like Tulsa and Memphis dont make it easier. Dont be surprised to see another historical park lost.

The Lakeside Mall in Sterling Heights, MI just got a new double deck carousel, and just in time for Christmas. The carousel is a full menagerie and the entire mall has recently received a complete renovation. Its well worth the visit if youre in the area.

Cedar Fair is moving the X-Flight Roller Coaster from Geauga Lake to another park not yet disclosed. No replacement has been announced.

A huge fire destroyed a large part of Gatorland, a staple for anyone visiting the Orlando area. The park says that in a few months it will be back to 100 percent and as good as new just in time for Summer.

The Carnival Heritage Museum in Kinsley, KS has received a grant for roof repairs. The $10,000 grant will allow them to fix the wind damaged roof and help to continue their efforts to teach children about the history of merry-go-rounds and carnivals. This museum is a bit off the beaten track for most of us, but well worth the visit. They are also in the process of restoring their carousel. To help, contact Fred Burgess at 877-464-3929.

The Chelsea Cove redevelopment has announced plans to feature a carousel amid a large lawn bowl that will overtake Pier 63 in New York City.  The new green space will encompass an area of five miles along the Hudson River bordered by Pier 62 and 64. Green meadows, gardens and skateboarding parks are also part of the plan.  The proposal is in its early stages.  Well keep an eye on this one.

I could fill the magazine with all of the Christmas shows that went on this season. As always, carousels are a centerpiece of every community, especially during the holidays. I hope you all went out and supported you local carousel last year.

The J&S Carousel in St. Augustine, FL bought by Gerard Soules, a very famous circus performer, had a Jeep crash into it, doing heavy damage. Gerard was murdered two weeks after his carousel purchase. Its continuing operation is by his brother, James as a tribute to his brothers love of children and carousels.  The local citizens and business did a great job rallying together to help repair the carousel.  The Mystic Bean Coffee Company came up with a special blend of coffee called Save the Carousel. five dollars of every bag sold went to the carousels repairs.  Also, a local innkeeper donated an antique horse that was auctioned off to help pay for repairs and helped replace the horses damaged in the crash.  James Soules, the brother of the original owner, had the carousel up and running within just a few days of the accident.

Finally, since Whalom Park in April of 2000 we havent lost a carousel sold piece-by-piece. In fact, in the case of Whalom Park, they are trying to repurchase and reassemble the carousel.  What a great story that would be.  We all need to keep up the good work to keep the real value of our historic carousels alive.

Dan Horenberger
About the author:
Publisher of Carousel News & Trader
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