“The carousel was one of very few privately-owned assets in Balboa Park, and our taking over its ownership aligns perfectly with Friends’ mission to preserve and maintain the park for future generations to come,” said Executive Director John Bolthouse.
The carousel was acquired June 30 from Bill Steen, and his family, who have owned the historic ride for more than 40 years.
“We have decided to sell the carousel to a San Diego organization that would appreciate and maintain it for future generations,” said Steen. “We are grateful for the opportunity to work with Friends to help preserve this shining gem for the ‘Jewel of San Diego’ for people from around the world to enjoy.”
The carousel was erected in 1910 in Los Angeles, then moved to Coronado ‘s “Tent City” in 1913 and permanently to Balboa Park in 1922. It still runs on the original General Electric motor.
It is a “menagerie model” because its figures include a variety of animals, from the traditional horses to a camel, 2 zebras, a deer, 2 ostriches, a lion and many others. Riders can still play the original brass ring game.
It’s open during the summer on weekends and holidays. Tickets are $3 a ride.
Friends of Balboa Park will begin a capital campaign on July 25 to raise funds for maintaining the operating the ride.
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