History

The Carousel Kid

I’m in my dirty 30s and still get goo goo-eyed about carouseling around The Peach State. There: I said it. I love them and all their slow-motion awesomeness.

Some of my carousel hot spots in Georgia throughout the years: The Macon Mall in Macon; Six Flags Over Georgia in Atlanta; and Peachtree Mall’s new double-decker ride in Columbus.

And obviously, I don’t need the entire carousel to have a funky good time as you can see. One rustic pony-poled piece will do.

Because of my affection for the ride, I did a lil Deep South diggin’ to learn more about its origin. Come to find out, carousels date back to the 12th century. The word was first used to explain a game played by Turkish and Arabian horsemen. The French adopted the game for equestrian competitions and formed the word we know and use today.

But it was American craftsmen who ushered the massive hand-carved carousels into the Golden Era. As time passed, the popular fair and festival children’s ride became overshadowed by the early 20th-century’s introduction to the roller coaster.

The design shifted from wood to aluminum and fiberglass, too.

However, a strong interest to preserve the original ones developed during the 1970s when organizations like Oregon’s International Museum of Carousel Art — now closed but dubbed the world’s largest collection of antique carousel animals — restored those that have sustained the test of amusement park time.

 

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