Monday, October 29, 2012

Griffith Park, Merry-Go-Round, Los Angeles, Ca

Located in Park Center between the Los Angeles Zoo and the Los Feliz park entrance, the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round has been a Los Angeles family attraction for over five generations. Built in 1926 by the Spillman Engineering Company and brought to Griffith Park in 1937, the Merry-Go-Round boasts 68 horses, everyone a jumper. Each horse is finely carved with jewel-encrusted bridles, detailed draped blankets and decorated with sunflowers and lion's heads. A Stinson 165 Military Band Organ, reputed to be the largest band organ accompanying a carousel on the West Coast, plays over 1500 selections of marches and waltz music.

"In August, 1976 fire gutted the 1924 historic carousel at Lincoln Park, destroying priceless carousel carvings, and spelling the end of an era.
But not all was lost. Three horses from the 1924 masterpiece created by the famous Spillman Engineering Company survived and remain, installed on the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round, the Lincoln Park's sister carousel built just a few years later.
The Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round is a survivor in it's own right. Built in 1926 by Spillman, it was originally part of the amusements at Mission Beach, San Diego, and was moved to Griffith Park in 1937. The 68 intricately carved horses and the bucolic scenes on the canopy and backdrop have seen better days, but the gently worn feeling is offset beautifully by the extraordinary level of craftsmanship and the rare opportunity to ride a vintage carousel surrounded by parkland.
According to signage at the carousel, some of the jeweled horses date from as far back as 1887, and the carousel is said to have inspired a young Walt Disney dreaming of Disneyland.
A vintage looking, but relatively new Stinson 165 Military Band Organ cranks out festive tunes at an impressive volume and tempo, its organ notes punctuated with drums, bells, and cymbal crashes. Like fairground contraptions of old, the organ plays over 1500 selections of marches and waltzes, and features animated figures on its decorated facade."-Atlas Obscura

 Luis Alvarado, the Honorary Mayor of Griffith Park, reportedly encountered a ghost on two occasions by the merry go round. One night, while checking to help ensure all visitors had left the park at the sunset closing time, Alvarado watched as a man descended a staircase in the vicinity only to disappear when hitting the last step. Alvarado looked around to see if perhaps the man had disappeared into behind a tree, but could find no trace. A few nights later, Alvarado was spooked when the scene repeated itself.

1 comment:

  1. Many happy days at this MerryGoRound, back in the '50's.