The First 100 Years
In 1903 Allan Herschell and his brother-in-law, Edward Spillman, bought out the Armitage Hershall Company renaming it the Herschell-Spillman Company. The Carousel in The Park located in Gage Park, Topeka, Kansas was constructed around 1908 by The Herschell-Spillman Company of North Towanda, New York and celebrates its 100th birthday in 2008.
Topeka’s Carousel in the Park is a portable carousel and was meant to be dismantled and reconstructed as it was taken from town to town. It left New York and traveled across the United States fi nally fi nding a stopping place in The Philadelphia City Park. In 1945 the Carousel was sold to an amusement park in Longview, Texas. Charles Boyles, owner of Boyles Joyland, bought the carousel in 1957 and brought it home to Topeka. A short move from Boyles Joyland to ownership by the City of Topeka in 1986 brought the carousel to its present home in Gage Park. Will Morton of Denver, Colorado performed expert restorations on the animals in the late 1980’s.
There is a mix of menagerie animals and horses on this carousel. Among the menagerie animals are two zebras, two camels, two dogs, two chickens, two rabbits, two boars, a reindeer and a billy goat.
Horse figures include the wonderful Kansas horse with its wheat sheaf and unique medallion K seal, two horses with carved wolf-like hides instead of traditional saddles and a girl’s choice horse decked out with a delicately carved yellow rose on the bridle and a matching yellow ribbon on the tail.
The Carousel in the Park is enjoyed by Topeka’s citizens seven days a week during the year from a late March-early April opening to its public use season closure at the end of
October. The remainder of the year, the Carousel is in demand when the Carousel Room, attached to the Carousel building, is rented out for birthdays, baby & bridal showers, reunions, wedding anniversaries …all types of celebrations!
The Carousel in the Park truly is a Topeka treasure which is enjoyed year 'round!
The Carousel 100th Birthday Program
May 31, 2008
Music.......Sunflower Harmony Chorus
Flag Ceremony.......We Ta Se, American Legion Post 410
Proclamation.......Norton Bonaparte, Topeka City Manager
Remarks.......Robert Kecheisen, Director, Kansas Museum of History
National Carousel Association Centennial Plaque Presentation
Other Brief Remarks
Birthday cupcakes, Pepsi, Carousel rides, Songs by Kyler Carpenter, "The Balloon Lady" & Sunshine the clown, "Henry the Juggler," Children's crafts & Face painter Dawnelle Frye, Old-fashioned candy by Potwin Drug Store/Old Prairie Town/Ward-Meade Historic Site, Hupmobile display/an automobile built from 1908-41 by the Hupp Motor Co. of Detroit
2008 Year of the Carousel in The Park Proclamation
WHEREAS, The City Of Topeka, Kansas, became owner and host to a 1908 Herschell-Spillman Carousel in 1986; and WHEREAS, the magic and beauty of the restored carousel was dedicated to The City and people of Topeka in 1989; and
WHEREAS, The Carousel has served many communities across the vast United States prior to coming home to Topeka, Kansas,
WHEREAS, thousands of Topekan families called The Carousel theirs for decades at Boyles Joyland, many of them being born in Topeka proper but many also visiting from around the world as witnessed by the names in The Carousel Guestbook; and
WHEREAS, the 1908 Herschell-Spillman Carousel later transitioned into a stellar city attraction in Gage Park and is now known as The Carousel in The Park; and
WHEREAS, the City Employees now serve their City Of Topeka proudly while maintaining and operating this magnifi cent and unique piece of Americana,
NOW, THEREFORE, I, William W. Bunten, Mayor of the City of Topeka, Kansas, do hereby proclaim the year 2008, as The Year of The Carousel in The Park in recognition of the rededication of The Carousel to The City and people of Topeka and wish this treasure and its riders the best of success for another 100 years and more.
—William W. Bunten, Mayor, City Of Topeka