NORTH TONAWANDA – After turning for 100 years, the city’s famed historic carrousel at the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum is out of service after two major parts cracked over the winter.
Due to safety concerns, museum officials had to shut down the carrousel – a centerpiece at the museum – and are looking for help from the public to raise the additional $40,000 needed to make repairs.
Megan Hahin, the museum’s education director, said the break was unexpected so the cost is something the museum was unprepared for.
“It’s the gem of our museum,” Hahin said. She said support from the public is needed to restore the historic treasure.
She said the break occurred in the cast iron hub, which rotates the carousel, and the part must be custom made.
“It’s a 100-year-old part. A hundred years of use caused a lot of wear on it,” Hahin said.
Hahin noted that forging the new part is not the most expensive part of the repair. Rather, it is the labor needed to put in the new hub, estimated at about $50,000, she said.
Carousels and Carvings in Marion, Ohio, is one of only a few places left in the country that can make the part.
Hahin said the museum had about $10,000 in its emergency fund, but didn’t expect it to cost so much to repair.
“We are taking the whole entire carousel down completely. Then it will all have to be put back together again,” Hahin said of the process.
She said they hope to be up and running again by June.
The museum is set to mark the 100th anniversary of the carousel on July 16 and 17.
The museum, at 180 Thompson St., offers rides on the carousel in the original factory where it was built.
It was one of the first machines the Allan Herschell Co. shipped in 1916.
The museum will remain open while repairs are made and visitors will receive tokens to ride the carrousel when it is back in operation.
The Kiddieland Testing Park also will be open, weather permitting. It features refurbished kiddie rides from the factory’s postwar era.
Supporters who would like to help with the carrousel restoration can donate by mail to the Carousel Society of the Niagara Frontier, 180 Thompson St., North Tonawanda, NY, 14120 or by visiting their local First Niagara Bank. You also may donate through the online funding site at GiveGab Campaign.
Gifts for different donation levels include ride tokens, individual and family passes, one year and lifetime memberships, as well as a chance to be one of the first riders on the newly restored carrousel.
Updates on the progress of restorations will be posted on the museum’s website at www.carrouselmuseum.org, on Face book.com/herschellmuseum or on Twitter @CarrouselMuseum.