Bust out the party hats and bring the kids to the Western Reserve Historical Society May 19 for the Euclid Beach Park Carousel’s 108th birthday celebration. At this annual shindig, guests get unlimited rides on 58 majestic handcarved and handpainted horses — 54 of which are originals from the ride’s 1910 debut. “People, both young and old, remember riding the carousel when they were children,” says director Angie Lowrie. “They’re coming back and reliving those magical memories.” We found three lesser-known facts about one of our favorite merry-go-rounds.
Horse Power: As one of three carousels at Euclid Beach Park built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Co., the ride now housed at the Cleveland History Center was the only carousel that had vertically moving horses suspended from the central pole. For prime speed, sit in the outer row where you’ll spin around at 7 mph. “The power it takes to run that carousel in a two- to three-minute ride is less than it takes to run a hair dryer,” says Lowrie.
Musical Chairs: When Euclid Beach Park closed in 1969, the original 293-pipe band organ that played the carousel’s soundtrack was sold to a family in California. In 2014, the Western Reserve Historical Society reunited the organ with the carousel to play music during each ride. “It is a 100-year-old band organ, so it has its moments,” says Lowrie. “Fortunately, we have recordings of the music it plays when we’re having trouble with that running.”
Paint Job: Completed in 2014, the restoration process was as much about keeping the original design intact as it was about connecting to present-day Cleveland. Scenes of the West Side Market and Public Square line the inner ring of the ride, while a host of flowers representing the Cleveland Cultural Gardens adorn the canopy. “There are all these handcarved and handpainted elements to it that are just so artistic,” says Lowrie.