The iconic Midway State Park carousel is back where it belongs.
State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Rose Harvey announced Thursday that the popular ride has been returned to its historic roundhouse building at Maple Springs near Bemus Point on Chautauqua Lake. The roundhouse has been newly refurbished.
The 1946 Art Deco-style Herschell Carousel, made in North Tonawanda, stood in a parking lot for the last four years because the roundhouse, built in 1928, was badly deteriorated.
The $556,000 restoration project was funded by one of the first grants made under Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s “NY Works” program, plus donations from Friends of Midway.
Harvey reported that the roundhouse was stabilized structurally, the roof was replaced, windows were repaired, new pathways were installed, and new cedar benches were added.
Parks staff also replaced the mechanical workings of the carousel, Harvey noted, and installed new panels of painted art along the top of the carousel.
Next step in the restoration is repainting the carousel’s horses. In a project led by Friends of Midway, artist Diane Gatto has painted a prototype horse with a decorative finish, Harvey said.
The other 29 horses have been sandblasted and rimed for application of the new design.
Several other local businesses and contractors were involved with the restoration project, including Hanson Signs, Watts Architects & Engineering, Kinley Corp., Oddo Construction Services, Signet Construction, Ahlstrom Shaffer, Paint Medics and Ekstrom Painting.
Established as a picnic grounds in 1898 by the Jamestown & Lake Erie Railroad, which ran excursion trains to the site, Midway State Park is the 15th-oldest amusement park in continual operation in the United States. Located off Route 430, it became a state park in 2006 and has been designated as a Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.