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Hersheypark’s Carrousel | 1912 – 1944

After the 1911 season, the popularity of the park’s first carousel required the park to purchase a larger carousel for the park. The original carousel, often called the Merry-Go-Round, was a smaller Hershchell-Spillman carousel. It simply didn’t meet the needs of Hersheypark’s operation in 1911, and so the ride was slated to be replaced.

For a time, both the new carousel and the Herschell-Spillman carousel operated in the 1912 season, making Hersheypark one of handful of parks to operate two carousels at once.

Construction begins

On June 25, 1912, James K. Putt and his team from the Hershey Improvement Company began constructing a $5000 building for a new carousel.

The Carrousel building (the park spelled carousel with two r’s instead of one) was built in the west end of the park on the north side of Spring Creek, on Park Boulevard near the intersection with West Derry Road. This Miniature Railroad passed right by the Carrousel building.

The building had an octagon shape, was 86 feet by 86 feet. Long leaf pine wood was used as the primary construction material for the building, with cedar shingles for the roof. The structure was 22 feet high with 36 windows. An ice cream and soda booth was also built into the structure.

1927 ~ Amusement Places [large]
The Carrousel building on the right, Spring Creek and Hershey Park Ball Room, seen to the left, as well as some of the track of the Miniature Railroad, circa 1927.
The Carrousel itself cost $10,000 and was manufactured by the William H. Dentzel Company based in Philadelphia. This was a menagerie carousel, meaning it had different animals aside from horses. There were 32 jumping animals and 16 stationary animals, with the outer row of animals being stationary. The animals consisted of bears, cats, deer, a giraffe, goats, horses, lions, an ostrich, pigs, rabbits, and tigers.

 

The ride was 50 feet in diameter and weighed over 42,000 pounds. The Carrousel was ran by 10 horse power electric motor. The ride was operated from inside the middle of the Carrousel.

There will not be the slightest possibility of anyone getting hurt by pulleys, belts, steam pipes, wires or any other thing that was so common to the old fashioned flying horse.

      —Hershey Press, July 4, 1912, page 1

It was said to be much safer to operate than the Herschell-Spillman carousel, as apparently it was not uncommon for someone to get bumped by the ride as it was running during a cycle.

Relocation to the Hollow

The Carrousel operated in this location through the 1928 season. At the end of the season it was relocated because the park was closing the pool in the Hollow and building a new one where the Carrousel was.

A new Carrousel building was constructed partially over Spring Creek right next to the low bridge that connected Hershey Park Theatre with the old bathhouse for the original swimming pool. The Carrousel remained in operation through the 1944 season. At some point around 1943 or 1944, Philadelphia Toboggan Company sold a carousel to Hersheypark, and the park installed it for the 1945 season.

1944-07-08 The Billboard
An advertisement for Hershey Park’s sale of their Dentzel Carrousel in the July 8, 1944, issue of The Billboard.

The park listed their Dentzel carousel for sale in The Billboard in July 1944. The ride ended up being sold, eventually winding up in the midwest for a number of years before it ended up in southern California where it continues to operate to this day.

Here are two videos of two Dentzel carousels operating in southern California. One is at Castle Park in Riverside, California, and the other is at Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, California.

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Harry Michelson View All

I have a wide variety of interests, from sports to politics, music to Star Trek. I write about the history of amusement parks. Right now I am focused on Hersheypark.

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