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Built by Gustav Dentzel of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1895, the two-row menagerie carousel has been in operation since 1909 and is now a National Historic Landmark.

  • "Highland Park Dentzel Carousel 2" by Dudemanfellabra at en.wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -
The carousel manufacturer Gustav Dentzel was an immigrant from Germany who moved to the United States in order to establish a business of his own. Denzel was primarily a cabinet maker and opened the Dentzel Factory in 1860. Denzel learned the carousel production business from his family who made them in Germany.

The Dentzel Carousel located at Highland Park in Meridian was originally created for the 1904 St. Louis Exposition, but later bought by the City of Meridian for $2,000--however, today the carousel is worth over a million dollars--and brought to Mississippi in 1909.

The carousel closed down for two years in order to have a major restoration during the 1980s. Since the carousel was so loved by the locals, a group known as Friends of the Carousels was established in order to raise funds for the restoration project. During the years of 1984 to 1995, one of the best restoration specialists in the nation Rosa Ragan from Raleigh, North Carolina conducted extensive restorations on the animals, chariots and oil paintings. 

The carousel is in full operation today and is housed in the "only remaining original carousel building built from a Dentzel blueprint." Both the carousel and its house are considered National Historic Landmarks.