By John Frato, Carousel Operations Coordinator, Cleveland History Center
On May 22nd, the Grand Carousel will celebrate the 113th Anniversary of its first day of operation at Euclid Beach Park in 1910. A total of seven carousels thrilled riders during the Park’s years of operation. The Grand Carousel built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company was the fourth carousel installed on the Park’s grounds. It was preceded by an Armitage-Herschell track machine in 1896, followed by the Herschell-Spillman Flying Ponies in 1903 (removed in 1934) and a menagerie Philadelphia Toboggan Company machine in 1906 (removed in 1910). The three remaining carousels that were installed included the Prior and Church Great American Racing Derby in 1921 and a children’s carousel manufactured by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company which was replaced by a Mangels two row machine in the 1930’s.
Of all the carousels that operated during the 74 years the Park operated, The Grand Carousel holds the record for longevity at 59 years and is also the only one which returned to Cleveland after leaving the area from 1970 to 1996. The Grand Carousel operated at Palace Playland, a small seaside amusement park outside of Portland, Maine.
The Carousel survived a devastating fire on December 23, 1972 and returned to Cleveland after financial difficulty forced its sale.
The Carousel returned to full operation at its home at the Cleveland History Center on November 23, 2014. Each year since the re-opening, a celebration has been held on May 22nd. This year will be no exception. Please visit the WRHS website for details (www.wrhs.org) or on Euclid Beach Park Now’s website (www.euclidbeach.org). Grab your party hats, celebrate and reminisce with a ride on the Euclid Beach Park Grand Carousel.