Something like twenty years ago the town of Mansfield, Ohio, had the idea that a carousel would help revive downtown, but there weren't any antique carousels to be had at the prices a mid-Ohio town that's been depressed since the market for gruesome driver's education scare films petered out. But they carried on, commissioning a new wooden carousel, the first built in the United States in over a half-century, and the group put together for this turned into Carousel Works, which has been building wooden carousels like mad ever since, and moved out of downtown Mansfield. But their first carousel is in the Richland Carrousel Park, in downtown Mansfield, and our revised tour plan made that a not-too-bad diversion from driving to Pittsburgh.
While we were driving we got panicky about just when they closed --- 5:00, which we could make, or 4:00, which we really couldn't --- and phoned bunny_hugger's parents so they could look it up on the Internet for us. Her parents weren't answering the phone for whatever reason. (They'd gone out for the afternoon.) At a rest stop I tried checking through my iPad and discovered that rest stop had absolutely no phone service. A later one did, at least, and the closing time was 5:00 anyway.
The carousel's nicely placed in the midst of a downtown that looks like it took a peak day from the mid-50s and kept it going, so that downtown revitalization project turned out great. It had three open sides, but since the day was turning a bit rainy and windy the staff was rolling down the garage-style doors as we approached. They just wanted to minimize rain trauma and not at all trap some birds inside. There were only a couple small groups of people coming in to ride it --- well, we were a small group ourselves --- but, hey, it got our trip off to a fine start, with an historically important carousel, and a staff that's really proud to have a carousel to show off like this.
We were hungry, and looked for a snack, which taught us that Mansfield pretty much closes up at 5 pm on a weekday. We missed the bakery, for example, by minutes, and the Squirrel's Den roasted nuts shop similarly. Wandering around looking for someplace to eat wasn't a waste of time, we figured, as we saw some beautiful mid-century buildings and parks and even a marker for the Historic Lincoln Byway, but it didn't do much to getting us fed. We gave up and trusted that we'd find something on the way to, or maybe at, our next stop of Tuscora Park.
Trivia: Of the top ten companies on the 1967 Fortune list of biggest corporations --- General Motors, Exxon, Ford, General Electric, Chrysler, Mobil, Texaco, U S Steel, IBM, and Gulf Oil --- eight were still on the 2007 list, as independent companies or as divisions of larger conglomerates. Source: How Markets Fail: The Logic Of Economic Calamities, John Cassidy.
Currently Reading: Your Movie Sucks, Roger Ebert.