On Saturday, June 22, 1895 a new summer resort opened eight miles east of Cleveland's Public Square. The name of this new summer resort Euclid Beach Park. A number of amusement rides were installed for the resort's second operating season, 1896, including a carousel. This first carousel at Euclid Beach Park was a "track" machine, movement of the figures was generated from underneath the platform. This carousel was built by the Armitage Herschell Company located in North Tonawanda, New York which neighbored Buffalo.
D.S. Humphrey II, having a successful popcorn stand on Cleveland's Public Square, decided to set up a stand at Euclid Beach Park. However, after being unable to persuade park management to change the way the park was being operated Humphrey pulled out of the park the next operating season. In 1901 Euclid Beach Park was up for sale. D. S. Humphrey heard about the sale while in Chicago on a business trip. He immediately returned home and had a family meeting. The outcome, the Humphrey's made a deal to take over the park. Now they had the chane to operate the park without the beer garden, gamblers, fakers and questionable side shows. The things D. S. Humphrey tried to persude the old management to eliminate from the park.
In 1903, another carousel was erected at Euclid Beach Park. This one was made by the Herschell Spillman Company (Note) and was called the "Flying Ponies", the figures being suspended from above, thus allowing them to swing out as the carousel turned. A unique feature of this particular carousel was that the entire machine was installed at a 10 angle, making the ride a bit more exciting as it revolved. This unique carousel operated at Euclid Beach Park until 1949. Note: Armitage Herschell Company invested much of its money in real estate. The landboom bubble burst in 1899, forcing the company into receivership. Allen Herschell with his borther-in-law, Edward Spillman, formed a new company, the Herschell-Spillman Company.
"The Flying Ponies" Early Euclid Beach Park Postcard
Behind "The Flying Ponies", the Towers of the Scenic Railway
Philadelphia Toboggan Company Carousels
Yesterday as today, there was competition in the amusement park industry. Other parks and resorts were already operating in and around Cleveland. In 1905, Luna Park opened on Cleveland's east side. One of its first rides was a carousel, a menagerie machine, mixture of horses and other animals. This carousel was made by the T. M. Harton Company of Pittsburgh, PA. Perhaps to remain competitive, in 1906 Euclid Beach obtained a new carousel, also a menagerie machine. This was the ninth carousel created by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company (PTC), of Philadelphia, PA.
Euclid Beach Park Carrousel, PTC #19
Photo Taken at Time of Installation
Four years later, Euclid Beach Park approached PTC for a new larger, grandeur carousel. The carousel that was installed in 1910 had 4 rows of horses, 3 inside rows of 44 jumping horses and an outside row of 14 nearly life size stationary horses and 2 chariots on a 60 foot platform. Into its centerpole was carved "No 19". Euclid Beach Park advertised the new ride as, "The Finest Carousel Ever Made," having an initial purchase price of $7,734.04. A new 90 foot diameter building was erected to house the carousel, with an initial cost of $9,713.94. PTC#19 was larger than #9 plus it had 3 rows of jumping figures. All the figures on PTC #9 (Note) were stationary as were the figures on Luna Park's carousel.
Note: After leaving Euclid Beach Park PTC#9 went to Laurel Springs in Hartford, CT. In 1925 it went back to the PTC shop, refurbished and became PTC#74R. It ended up at Mt. Gretna, PA and in the late 70's it was broken up at an auction.
Photographed by Harry Christiansen in 1969
Used With Permission From D & D Publications
In 1915 Luna Park installed a new PTC carousel #35 (See Note). This one also had 4 rows of horses, 3 rows of 58 jumpers, 1 row of 10 standers and 2 chariots.
Note: Luna Park closed for good at the end of the 1928 season. PTC#35 was moved to Puritas Springs Park which was located on Cleveland's Westside. The park closed at the end of its 1958 season and the carousel then went to Sandy Beach Park in Russells Point, OH till 1971. It is now operating (2009) at Six Flags over St. Louis.
PTC#19 was the last large park carousel purchased by Euclid Beach Park. #19 would remain the centerpiece of the park until Euclid Beach closed on September 28, 1969.
Photographed by Harry Christiansen in 1969
Used With Permission From D & D Productions
Photographed by Harry Christiansen in 1969
The Great American Racing Derby
In 1921, Euclid Beach purchased and had installed a racing derby made by the firm of Prior and Church. It was installed next to PTC #19 and given the name, "The Great American Racing Derby." A few years prior to the park's closing this ride was sold and moved to Cedar Point where it operates to this day (2009) as Cedar Downs.
"Great American Racing Derby"
Original Euclid Beach Park Postcard
Great American Racing Derby Wm. F. Mangels Kiddie Carousel
(The James Wise Collection) (The James Wise Collection)
The park had one other carousel, built for the smaller amusement park visitor. This carousel was located in kiddieland, manufactured by the Wm. F. Mangels Company Carousal (there spelling) Works of Brooklyn, NY.
Around the 30's Euclid Beach Park made alterations to the facades of the roller coasters and in the grand ballroom, incorporating an "Art Deco" look. The carousel was altered at this time to reflect this appearance. Outside rounding boards and inside panels were changed, and the horses were painted completely white, with just the trappings receiving bright colors. Also at this time, the park added the second "R" to the ride's name, "CARROUSEL".
Art Deco - Carrousel
Original Eucld Beach Park Postcard
The mid 60's to early 70's saw many of America's traditional amusement parks close for good. Euclid Beach Park came to its end at the close of the 1969 operating season. Some of the rides from kiddieland and larger rides that could be easily moved were placed in storage, to once again operate at a future date in Humphrey's Shady Lake Park which opened in 1978 in Streetsboro, OH. Larger rides like the roller coasters, saw cables tied to bulldozers, changing them from their towering vertical landmark features to horizontal rubble. PTC #19 was sold to Palace Playland a small amusement park in the resort community of Old Orchard Beach, ME.
Lake View to Ocean ViewPostcard View of PTC #19 Operating at Palace Playland Early 80's Postcard from Old Orchard Beach, ME
(Lusterchrome by Tichnor Bros., Inc.) (Lusterchrome, by Tichnor Bros., Inc.)
Old Orchard Beach is a summer resort town located on the Atlantic Ocean, south of Portland, ME. The main street of the resort ends at the beach. Directly at the end of the street and extending into the Atlantic Ocean is Old Orchard Pier. The Atlantic has claimed part of the structure three times since it was built in 1898. In the early summer of 1969 two small amusement parks operated in Old Orchard Beach; Pier Amusements (researching for accurate name), North of the pier and Palace Playland, South of the pier. Pier Amusements had a carousel, Palace Playland did not. A fire broke out at Pier Amusements on July 19, 1969 destroying its old carousel and much of the park. At some point when PTC #19 was at Palace Playland the horses and chariots were repainted.They were no longer white with just the saddles and trappings getting color, but changed to a variety of colors and hues. The carousel structure itself saw changes while at the park. The curved ceiling and the inside paneling hiding the inner support and centerpole were removed. The postcard picture of the carousel still shows the "art deco" rounding boards but in later years they were removed or altered.
Photographed in 1982
(The Richard Wickens Collection)
Palace Playland was sold in December of 1996. The carousel was owned by a charitable trust and leased to the amusement park. The foundation wanted to sell the carousel. Local residents pleaded with the owner to keep the carousel in town. The new owners of Palace Playland offered to lease the carousel, which was rejected. They offered to purchase it but was quoted in the Portland Press Herald, "we can't compete with an auctioneer". Palace Playland was to reopen in 1998, under new ownership and would feature a new fiberglass menagerie carousel with 30 figures in stead of 54 hand carved wooden horses. As for PTC #19 an auctioneer who auctions carnivals, tourist attractions, amusement parks and carousels was contacted by the foundation early to mid 1997. For a carousel going to auction the figures are first offer individually. Then other ornate items, rounding boards, inner panels, etc. The platform and mechanism may be auctioned off also. Then the entire carousel is offerd for auction as a complete unit.
Very early in 1997 the same auctioneer was contacted to auction the rides and other attractions from Old Indiana Park, an amusement park where some of Euclid Beach's rides and attractions eventually wound up. (Refer to Park History/Timeline, 1978 and 1982.) Many members of Euclid Beach Park Nuts (EBPN) were in attendance at this auction and bid on individual ride pieces that were at Euclid Beach. The enthusiasm for Euclid Beach Park was evident and noted by the auctioneer. Upon signing the contract to auction PTC #19, the auctioneer contacted David Humphrey Scott, President of EBPN, asking if there was a place in the Cleveland area to hold the auction. Coincidently EBPN had planned to hold a memorabilia show at Trolleyville USA located in Olmsted Township on July 19th and 20th, 1997. Trolleyville USA was a trolley museum located on a manufactured home, retirement community, with operating restored trolleys. Included in the collection was a trolley that did carry park goers to Euclid Beach Park. The memorabilia show was held at the community center which was located at the back of the park. The trolley tracks made a large loop so as to make the return trip. In the middle of this loop was a large open area where the auctioneer set up a tent which displayed all 54 horses and 2 chariots from the carrousel and the hundreds of people that came to bid on the carrousel. Hundreds of people, not eligible to bid, stood outside, around the perrimiter of the tent. The EBPN planned memorabillia weekend was billed as "Ride a Trolley to Euclid Beach".
Prior to being contacted by the auctioneer EBPN was aware that Euclid Beach's Carrousel was in danger of being broken up as local Cleveland media carried the news that Palace Playland would be sold and that the carrousel was not included in the sale. EBPN began a letter writing campaign, newspapers, politicians, etc. The local, part-time representative for the Trust For Public Land (TPL) saw an article in a local weekly newspaper that was prompted by the EBPN campaign. The representative contacted EBPN and met with them with ideas on possible sites for the carousel and ways to get financial assistance. The TPL representative also operated a community development consulting firm and through contacts learned that Cleveland Tomorrow was interested in seeing the carrousel return to Cleveland. Cleveland Tomorrow was an economic develoopment organization of 53 Chief Executive Officers from the largest companies in northeast Ohio. March of 2004 Cleveland Tomorrow merged with the Greater Cleveland Growth Association and the Greater Cleveland Roundtable to form the Greater Cleveland Partnership.
The following is from the blog, authored by Tim Abbott, "Walking the Bershires".
Specifically from December 10, 2006, "All the Pretty Horses", about the Euclid Beach Park Carrousel.
The Trust for Public Land is a national conservation organization whose mission is "Saving Land for People". TPL works on the widest array of conservation projects, from family farms and wilderness to pocket parks and urban recreation areas, but it never before been asked to help save a carousel.
Time was too short for Cleveland Tomorrow to secure the funds to purchase the entire carrousel. The local TPL representative approached the executive committee with the proposed project around the end of June 1997. Mr. Abbott's article includes, "The story goes that when the project was presented to the organization's executive committee, they practically fell over themselves to endorse saving the carousel". TPL would make the initial purchase of the carrousel on behalf of Cleveland Tomorrow and for all Greater Clevelanders. The large, ornate, outside row horses were auctioned first with the first horse obtaining a top bid of $48,500. The other outside row horses received lower bids but the were still in five figures. When the all of the 54 horses were auctioned and the 2 chariots, the bids were added and then the complete carrousel was offered, requiring an opening bid which included a additional percentage of that total. The TPL representative made an opening bid of $505,000. A second bid was made and taken. The auctioneer said that if a third bid was made it must be at $650,000. The TPL representative held up the bid card assigned. The auctioneer asked for a fourth bid but none was made. The auctioneer then announced SOLD and a cheer erupted from the crowd. With a "Buyer's Premium" added to the final accepted bid the cost of the carrousel was $715,000.
In the months that followed the auction, Cleveland Tomorrow repaid The Trust for Public Land. Cleveland Tomorrow asked the Western Reserve Historical Society to assist with the carrousel's restoration. In February of 1998 a contract was signed with Carousel Magic of Mansfield, OH to restore the carrousel's horses and chariots. It was estimated that it would take about a year to complete the job.