The 1924 wooden menagerie carousel coming to Canalside will be located near the Clinton’s Dish food stand on what’s known as the Dunbar Block, bound by Main Street, Perry Street and the Buffalo River.
The decision was part of an announcement Wednesday of a memorandum of understanding reached between the City of Buffalo, Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. and Buffalo Heritage Carousel.
Erie Canal Harbor will buy the land for the carousel from the city for $1, and sublease it for the same amount to Buffalo Heritage Carousel, which will construct and operate the family attraction.
Buffalo Heritage Carousel plans to operate the carousel year-round in a building that also will offer displays about carousel history, events space and a gift shop.
With the agreement, the Margaret L. Wendt Foundation has sent the remaining $225,000 to buy the carousel from the Massachusetts family that is the original owner. A $25,000 down payment was made in June 2015.
“We are thrilled that it is now official that a parcel at Canalside will be the future home of our rare and historical Spillman Engineering carousel,” said Laurie Hauer-LaDuca, Buffalo Heritage Carousel’s president.
“It was the critical missing component needed in order to finalize the acquisition of the historic DeAngelis carousel and fully engage in our capital campaign that will allow us to bring it home to complement Canalside,” Hauer-LaDuca said. “The solar-powered carousel will provide a year-round family destination, and another piece of Buffalo’s story that will promote historic tourism.”
The lavishly carved carousel, made in North Tonawanda, has been in storage since 1954, including the last 28 years at Carousel Works in Ohio. The wooden animals, scenery panels and rounding boards will be restored there, thanks to a $600,000 grant provided by Assemblyman Sean M. Ryan, D-Buffalo.
The cost of the carousel ride will be $1 to make it affordable for everyone, a stipulation made by Ryan as a condition in providing the funds.
Although specific details have yet to be worked out on the carousel’s location, they are expected to resolved in the coming weeks, as a fundraising campaign gets into gear. Restoration is expected to take about 18 months.
“I’m pleased we are moving forward in bringing this vintage, park-style carousel to our city’s revitalized waterfront, allowing another significant investment that will surely help to attract even more families to this memorable destination,” Mayor Byron W. Brown said. “By making Canalside the new home to this historic carousel, we are offering families new ways to enjoy our waterfront, and providing an important link to Buffalo’s past and Canalside’s bright present and future.”
“ECHDC is elated to create an opportunity to bring this rare Spillman Engineering menagerie carousel to Canalside,” said Robert Gioia, Erie Canal’s chairman. “Both the carousel and the future Explore & More Children’s Museum will give even more families a reason to visit and enjoy additional time at Canalside.”
Buffalo Heritage Carousel will be responsible for the carousel’s funding, design, construction, operation and maintenance, in consultation with the city and the waterfront agency.
The Wendt Foundation’s financial support was crucial in obtaining the carousel. The philanthropic foundation supported the vision of a locally made vintage carousel on the waterfront, near a new children’s museum, as a way to attract families to the emerging waterfront.
Ryan said, “Today’s announcement by our partners in city and state government is a great step forward on the journey to bringing the historic Herschell-Spillman carousel to Buffalo’s Canalside. “The carousel was constructed right here in Western New York, and it is fitting that over 90 years later, the carousel will be returning home for new generations to enjoy.