Two Jantzen Beach carousel horses ride again
A new show at the Oregon Historical Society called "The Odyssey of the Historic Jantzen Beach Carousel" is on now through April 30, 2023. It shares the fascinating history of the park and features four of the carousel's beautiful horses — two of them fully restored and on display for the first time in over a decade. Visitors will also enjoy historical photographs, objects, videos, and a gallery of stunning hand-printed silver gelatin photographs by architect and heritage documentarian, Harley Cowan.
When the Jantzen Beach Amusement Park opened on Hayden Island on May 26, 1928, it was the largest amusement park in the United States. The opening weekend of the park drew 40,000 people who enjoyed a variety of rides and attractions, including a roller coaster and four swimming pools. In July 1928 they added a four-abreast carousel built by C. W. Parker. It was originally designed for the pier in Venice, California. Measuring more than 66 feet in diameter and standing nearly three stories high, the carousel featured 72 hand-carved horses. Today, it is the last Parker Superior Park Model carousel known to exist.
When the amusement park was demolished in 1970 to make way for a shopping center, the carousel became the centerpiece of the mall, drawing children and adults for the next 40 years. After the pavilion that sheltered the carousel was torn down the owners of the Jantzen Beach Center donated the carousel to Restore Oregon, a statewide, nonprofit historic preservation organization, where it has been carefully stored since 2017.
"Restore Oregon is delighted to have participated in the creation of this exhibition over the past two years, and to have loaned many of the historic photographs and objects that help tell the 100-year story of the Jantzen Beach Carousel," said Stephanie Brown, Jantzen Beach Carousel Project Manager at Restore Oregon. "We are equally thrilled to share a behind-the-scenes look at the historic preservation process, and to celebrate the work of our talented team of artisans. Our hope is that all who visit this exhibition, whether they already love the Jantzen Beach Carousel or are discovering it for the first time, will enjoy this chance to learn about its history, craftsmanship, and the special place it holds in the hearts of generations of Pacific Northwesterners."
The Oregon Historical Society's museum is open seven days a week, Monday—Saturday 10 a.m.—5 p.m. and Sunday noon—5 p.m.
Entry is $10, with discounts for students, seniors, teachers and youth. Admission is free every day for OHS members and Multnomah County residents.
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