3/19/2010 Featured in the Group
*03/21/2010 Featured in Group
The lone surviving ride from the days of the Jantzen Beach Amusement Park is the 1921 carousel designed by renowned carousel designer and innovator, Charles W. Parker. His so-called “Jumping Horse Carry-Us-All” revolutionized the industry and is widely recognized today as one of the most popular riding devices in the country. The C.W. Parker Carousel (or Jantzen Beach Carousel as it is often known) consists of 72 different “jumper” horses (with more horses in storage) at four rows across. It is lit by an amazing 1,350 lights and consists of 286 mirrors. The base is a large 67-foot diameter that can travel up to ten miles an hour on the outside steeds, making it the largest and fastest ride still in operation. Interestingly enough, the hand-carved horses are worth more if they were removed and sold individually than if the carousel were sold as a whole. The carousel would gain worldwide notoriety in 1976 when 14-year-old Dana Dover would participate in a charity marathon and ride the machine for 311 hours and 17 minutes. The nearly 13-day ride would place her and the machine in the for the longest merry-go-round ride at the time. In 1987, the C.W. Parker Carousel would receive the honor of being placed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1995 part of its history was rediscovered. On the horse dubbed “Hector,” the restoration efforts uncovered a symbol on the horse’s saddle that had been removed at some point. At the time of its construction in 1921, the symbol has been used throughout the world as a positive reinforcement of power, prosperity, strength, and good luck. That would change in the 20th Century when the German Nazi Party formerly adopted the symbol and the swastika would forever have a negative connotation. It had been removed from the horse and forgotten after World War II, but it was decided to restore the symbol since it had been originally based on Native American art. The restoration was met by negative public reaction however, so the management ultimately decided to pull “Hector” from the carousel permanently and moved it to a display case that explains its history.
Taken on Jantzen Beach, Vancouver, WA USA