National Merry-Go-Round Day!

July 25, 1871 marks the first patent for the carousel (also known as a merry-go-round). If there was ever a holiday meant for Preservation in Pink to celebrate, National Merry-Go-Round Day is the one. It’s probably been a while since you’ve seen a merry-go-round on a playground; most seem to have been eliminated for safety reasons. While I distinguish between merry-go-round and carousel, they are  interchangeable in terms, according to the national holiday calendar. Here’s the explanation:

Along with the roller coaster, the merry-go-round is one of the oldest amusement rides. Also known as the carousel, the merry-go-round rotates on a circular platform around a pole. The platform holds seats for riders.  A motor spins the platform around the large central pole. Between rows of seats, passengers ride wooden horses and other animals. Poles anchor the animals in place.  Once in a while, the colorful animals move up and down. The movement simulates galloping. Meanwhile, calliope music plays, adding a light-hearted atmosphere.

Besides carousels, any rotating platform may also be called a merry-go-round. By comparison, children power the playground merry-go-round. They push off using the bars or handles. The riders cling to the same bars as the platform spins. Since the riders determine the speed, the harder they push, the faster they go. Not surprisingly, one of the thrills of riding the merry-go-round included becoming dizzy.

  • The earliest known depiction of the merry-go-round is in 500 A.D. The Byzantine Empire’s ride depicts baskets carrying riders suspended from a central pole. 
  • In the 1840s, Franz Wiesenoffer created the first merry-go-round in the United States in Hessville, Ohio. 
  • July 25, 1871 – The first carousel patent. 

In honor of the holiday, here are a few merry-go-rounds and carousels that I’ve come across over the years, from newest to oldest. As you can see, there aren’t too many. Slides and swings are much more common.

we found the playground. this is what we do.
Some flamingo fun in 2010 – testing out a newer version of the merry-go-round. 
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1970s merry-go-around in the Outer Banks, NC. 

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1970s merry-go-around in the Outer Banks, NC. 

 

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A homemade merry-go-round found in Waterville, VT. Photo taken 2013. The playground no longer remains. 

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1940s  merry-go-round found in Craftsbury, VT. Photo taken 2014. 

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1940s era playground equipment in Craftsbury, VT (2014). 

Seen any good merry-go-rounds lately? They were always my favorite. Enjoy!

Washington D.C. Excursion

For years, I’ve been dreaming of Washington, D.C. When you think the top of the preservation world, you think Washington, D.C., right? (Well, I do.) Thankfully, a flamingo wedding just outside D.C. was the perfect reason for a mini-excursion to D.C. and for the annual flamingo reunion. It was a flurry of jaw-dropping architecture, good food, bicycling, and flamingo-ing. While a sort visit, the best way to use that time was wandering around, hopping on and off Capital BikeShare bikes, and just enjoying the sights. However, be warned, D.C. wasn’t all that bike friendly in terms of bike lanes.

Everything is beautiful in D.C., even the lamp posts.

Everything is beautiful in D.C., even the lamp posts.

The U.S. Capital.

The U.S. Capital.

The Washington Monument.

The Washington Monument.

The World War II Memorial is stunning.

The World War II Memorial is stunning.

View of the Washington Monument from the World War II Memorial.

View of the Washington Monument from the World War II Memorial.

Lions at Judiciary Square.

Lions at Judiciary Square.

Finally, I saw these in person. I've wanted to see these columns and capitals for years.

Finally, I saw these in person. I’ve wanted to see these columns and capitals for years.

Beautiful.

Beautiful.

U.S. flags surround the Washington Monument.

U.S. flags surround the Washington Monument.

Glen Echo Park, an art deco setting for a flamingo wedding.

Glen Echo Park, an art deco setting for a flamingo wedding.

This needs no explanation, except that it was handmade by the best man's mother. Everyone gets in on the flamingos.

This needs no explanation, except that it was handmade by the best man’s mother. Everyone gets in on the flamingos.

Riding the historic carousel!

Riding the historic carousel!

Georgetown is gorgeous.

Georgetown is gorgeous.

Near the White House.

Near the White House.

So many cornices to photograph.

So many cornices to photograph.

The White House, behind a fence.

The White House, behind a fence.

The National Building Museum, the former U.S. Pension building.

The National Building Museum, the former U.S. Pension building.

Next visit, I need more time to see the museums and the monuments. What’s your favorite part of Washington D.C.?

Preservation Photos #201

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Jane’s Carousel at Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York City, overlooking the Manhattan Bridge.

Originally built in 1922 for Idora Park in Youngstown, Ohio, the carousel was purchased in 1984 for restoration. It opened in Brooklyn Bridge Park in 2011. On most days, you can ride the carousel for $2. It was closed on my visit, so it’s on my list for my next New York City visit. What a view!

Flamingo-grams Special Edition: Flamingos in NYC!

Just a lovely blur of weekend with some of the flamingo gang as we toured New York City. Expect more to about our trip, but here’s a collage for now, posted for the benefit of those who do not follow PiP on instagram or Twitter (@presinpink on both).  Enjoy! There are many more photos to come! {Click the individual photos for larger images and full captions.}

Preservation Photos #94

Carousel in Woodstock, VT.

What’s better than a carousel? A carousel with an ice cream shop next to it and an arcade full of vintage, free games. And it was next to a diner car. Sure, this is at a tourist stop, but who doesn’t like carousel? Exactly.

(In full disclaimer, I really have no idea how old this carousel is nor can I date it. If you know, please tell me! And on another subject, tourism fuels much of Vermont’s economy, which complicates calling things a “tourist trap.”))