Sweetums and I were traveling through Meridian, Miss., in a driving rainstorm when I reme mbered it was the home of a Highland Park Dentzel Carousel.Dentzel Carousel Co. of Pennsylvania was one of the foremost makers of carousels at the turn of the 20th century. Only two survive in the U.S., and this is the oldest and most complete.
The beautifully carved and painted attraction is housed in a shelter so people can ride, rain or shine. It is also available for party rentals.
I ran through the rain so I could snap a few photos of the carousel. According to the City of Meridian website, it was built ca. 1895 for the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. After it entertained numerous visitors to the fair, it was sold to the City of Meridian and shipped there. It has been in operation in Meridian since 1909, with brief closures for renovations.
The city website says, “Seven original oil paintings, of museum quality, adorn the top crown. All the animals are meticulously hand-carved of bass and poplar wood and have been professionally restored to their original beauty.”
The carousel includes two chariots and 28 animals: a lion, tiger, two deer, two antelope, two giraffes, and 20 horses. They were all handcarved.
My photos aren’t great because of the humidity but I hope you can get an idea of how special this carousel is. Plus, it only costs 50 cents per ride!