Carousels have that distinct quality of being able to enamor me in a beautifully historical way and an unadulterated childlike makes-me-want-to-go-weeee kind of way.
Santa Monica Pier Carousel inside the Looff Hippodrome. Built in 1922.
The carousels that were built a hundred years ago have such exquisite craftsmanship. Handcrafted, hand painted, made with such care and detail, sturdy and long-lasting. They conjure a past time when individuals put such loving focus and quality into what they were making. Carving each animal with a uniqueness and painting the details of eyes, hair, and bridles. They really are one of the enchanting pieces from a past slipping away.
Balboa Park Carousel was built in 1910. It is a menagerie, giraffes, lions, and many other animals. All the animals are original (except for two) and the murals, as well.
At the same time, they excite the child in me, antsy to step up on the platform, choose my animal, and anticipate that music filling my ears. While it starts up slowly, turning with a deliberate and silent surge as it gathers speed, leaving my face swept by the breeze and my hair trailing behind. The dizzy buzz that fills my head and the blur that zips past my eyes. For a few glorious minutes I am immersed in a spinning world of music, merriment, and thrilling disorientation. And then the speed begins to diminish, and the spinning world lazily and gradually comes to an end. Stepping back to solid ground my head swims and the playful sensation slowly fades away. Then I’m off in search of the cotton candy. . .
Looff Carousel at Seaport Village. Hand-carved in 1895 by Charles I.D. Looff, who was one of the first American carousel carvers, and greatly influenced other carvers.