Jane's Carousel was built in 1922 by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company (P.T.C.). It was originally marked PTC No. 61, and it was located in Youngstown, Ohio at Idora Park. Overtime, the Carousel fell into disrepair. However, in 1983, when David Walentas designed plans for Empire Fulton Ferry State Park, he included a historic Carousel, and PTC No. 61 just happened to go to auction that next year, in 1984. The Carousel was purchased by David and his wife, Jane, at the auction. The Carousel was then restored to its former glory, and in 2011, it was opened to the public in Brooklyn Bridge Park. The Carousel sits in a pavilion designed by Jean Nouvel, a Pritzker Prize winning architect.
Backstory and Context
Carousel HistoryThe first steam-powered carousel, known then as a roundabout, was built in 1861 by Thomas Bradshaw in Bolton, England. Before then, carousels were powered by either man or horse. With the invention of steam power, the carousel market boomed into the early-twentieth century. This era is considered the Golden Age of the carousel, particularly in America where the carousels grew grander in scale.
Aside from steam power, carousels developed other unique features over the course of the late nineteenth century. One of these features was the up and down motion of the ride as it spun around in a circle. Additional animals, other than horses, were also added to give the ride a more intricate and unique look. Carousel production suffered during the 1930s due to the Great Depression that hit the United States. They also fell behind other advanced rides, such as roller coasters, that were popping up at the time. Today, many societies and individuals try to find and restore many of the old hand-carved carousels that still exist.
Jane's CarouselJane's Carousel was built in 1922 by the famous carousel production company called the Philadelphia Toboggan Company (P.T.C.). It was originally marked the PTC No. 61 and was located in Idora Park, which was in Youngstown, Ohio. As with other carousels at the time, PTC No. 61 was neglected and fell into disrepair. In 1984, the Carousel was auctioned off, and it was purchased by David and Jane Walentas, who planned to restore the Carousel to its former glory and place it in a park designed by David.
Jane Walentas, who graduated from Moore College of Art & Design in Philadelphia and later received her MFA from NYU, oversaw the restoration of the Carousel herself. The project included scraping away paint where the original color of the Carousel had been covered over the years, repainting, adding back missing jewels and other embellishments, and replacing much of the mechanical system that had become faulty. The Carousel was opened to the public in 2011 in a pavilion that was designed by the Pritzker Prize winning architect Jean Nouvel.
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Papa, Carrie. The Carousel Keepers: An Oral History of American Carousels. Edition 1st. Newark, Ohio. McDonald and Woodward Publishing Company, 1997.
Wadler, Joyce. "A Ride With Head-Spinning Views." New York Times. 9/1/11. Accessed Web, 7/21/17. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/02/arts/design/janes-carousel-at-brooklyn-bridge-park.html.