austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Bells are ringing; we are singing

Because Friday was so cold and rainy we were able to get plenty of rides on the long-queue attractions, so we didn't feel the need to use our early admission Saturday morning to, say, get another chance on Maverick. Instead we slept in and enjoyed the relative warmth under the comforters, and went out to photograph the Bon Air Wing in broad daylight --- parts of it already look pretty dire, and some of the renovations being done on other parts of the Hotel Breakers were obvious--- and then lunch and a visit to the Merry-Go-Round Museum.

The horse they're carving and raffling this year is a Halloween-themed one, with a neat purple bat-wing saddle and pumpkins carried behind it. We bought several tickets but of course won't win; it'd be great, though. The museum has rearranged things some, partly because Cleveland has been rebuilding and restoring the carousel which had been at Euclid Beach Park, and the museum's returned some of what it had to Cleveland. But they've been bringing in new things and rearranging items, for example showing off several lions and tigers together to better demonstrate how their styles changed over time and between manufacturers. Also we noticed one of the tigers has a secondary figure of a dragon looking the reverse direction; it's so striking we figure it must be a new tiger or we'd have surely noticed before.

They've updated their list of carousels with working brass ring dispensers, which sadly means mostly taking carousels off the list. (Apparently we haven't just been unlucky in our visits to Conneaut Lake Park, and they don't do brass rings anymore.) They had an ostrich painted with wonderfully brilliant paint, too, the kind that Great Adventure used to have on their antique carousel in the mid-70s. And they had a sign explaining a bit more about a wonder on the back wall: an enormous painting of ``Toy Town'' now explains it was a proposal for an amusement park in Iowa, halted and unbuilt due to the Great Depression. This may not sound like much but it's more information than we had before. The park looks like it'd have been a wonder --- there's a Wizard of Oz section, Noah's arks, a Santa Claus Workshop land, Mother Goose lands and all that --- and I don't know if it's sadder that the place was never built or that, if it were built, it'd have probably closed, sad and depressing, in the late 60s.

One of the carvers, a volunteer, spent a good deal of his time through his lunch explaining the work he does; he's been carving a carousel dog for something like a year now (but at just a couple hours a week). And he showed off this lovely huge model carousel, about four feet across, recently donated to the museum. It's got a full menagerie of animals and it's believed that if the mechanism were repaired it would actually fully work, inner animals moving up and down. If they can get it to work that'd be beautiful but, as the carver mentioned several times, who knows where they could possibly place the thing?

Trivia: Part of the boundary between North and South Carolina, per a 1735 agreement, was to be at the 35th parallel. Surveyors mistakenly located it 13 miles south of that. Source: How The States Got Their Shapes, Mark Stein.

Currently Reading: Pioneers, Reformers, and Millionaires, Elizabeth A Homer. New local history book about the founding of Lansing. The property scam part got only a paragraph so far, which may match its actual historic importance, but seems unfair given how much a part of the city's founding mythos it is. At least explaining why the scam isn't important should be worthwhile.

Tags: merry-go-round museum

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