Historic Dentzel Carousel Turns 94 This May

Flickr photo by John Weiss

The 40 horses, four rabbits, four ostriches, giraffe, deer, lion and tiger of the historic Dentzel Carousel will be back in action starting May 3 in Glen Echo Park.

The 12-sided building that houses the carousel was brought to Glen Echo — then an amusement park — in 1921 and quickly became the facility’s centerpiece.

It still is. Its May 3 opening for 2014 will be the main feature of the Glen Echo Park Partnership’s annual Family Day, which will also include magic shows, art displays, dance and ballet performances and a sing-along.

The cost to ride the carousel is $1.25. The canopy and carved animal figures were made by the Dentzel Carousel Company of Pennsylvania, one of many hand wood carved carousels of the early 1900s.

When the amusement park closed in 1968, the rides were sold. Glen Echo Town Councilmember Nancy Long successfully raised $80,000 to buy back the carousel for use by the National Park Service, which runs Glen Echo Park. The town also raised $10,000 for the return of the Wurlitzer organ that provides the soundtrack for carousel rides.

Flickr photo by John Weiss

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