The History of the Carousel

April 27, 2017

Image result for saratoga carouselWritten by Camille Hord

In my last blog, I mentioned a few of the interesting and sentimental things I drive past on the way to work. One of them being the Carousel in Congress Park.

In 1910, Marcus Illions, one the greatest horse carvers in the world, carved 28 horses, all known for their dazzling heads, decorated bodies and real horse hair tails.  This carousel served at many venues in Saratoga County, and finally ended up at Kaydeross Park until 1987.  This was the year that Kaydeross Park was being sold to developers, and the carousel was going to the auction block.  These beautiful horses would more than likely be sold off one by one.  Well, that didn’t sit well with local Saratogians, and the then Commissioner of Public Works, Tom McTygue.  Mctygue and other local volunteers went to local businesses and residents and managed to raise almost $120,000.  At some point, negotiations settled at about $150,000 to buy the carousel and horses from the auctioneers.  The horse and carousel went through complete restoration and once again, in 2002 you would hear the calliope and organ tunes, but this time in Congress Park.  This is the only two row carousel, that Illions built, that is  still in working order.

It is very nostalgic to see little kids laughing and enjoying the same carousel I rode on when I was a child.  When my grandchildren were younger we would go the park and ride the carousel, and I would tell them that Grammie used to ride this same carousel when she was a little kid.  At that point, they decided it must be very old then.   Our final destination after the carousel, was the trip to Ben and Jerry’s for ice cream.  All was good in the world.