The Pueblo City Park Carousel is a typical example of the Country Fair Style. It was the 72nd carousel built by the Charles Wallace Parker Amusement Devices Company of Abilene, Kansas. Advertised as a 3-abreast Carry Us All, it had 36 horses, one or two chariots, a ten horsepower steam boiler, band organ, organ drive and canvas top.
Factory records, now in the Barbara Charles collection, show that #72 was built in 1911 and sold for $5,160 to Exposition and Amusement Company. Neither the address of the firm nor the owner’s names have been found.
Another page of the records shows that #72 was returned to the factory in 1914, about the time C.W. Parker moved from Abilene to Leavenworth, Kansas. It was at this time, perhaps, that #72 was altered to its present composition.
The original 1911 carousel may have had two standard Parker chariots with one being replaced by a Parker Spinning Lover’s Tub to produce more revenue - it required at least two tickets per ride.
The two inner rows of horses are typical pre-1915 Parker Drop Leg style. They have bracket holes for an earlier type of vertical movement, known as a track machine, which indicates they were carved circa 1900.
The outside row of horses was carved by Solomon Stein and Harry Goldstein in Brooklyn, New York, circa 1907. The two different sizes of horses indicate they may have been from the first and second rows of another machine. All 36 horses have metal horseshoes marked “11 worth.” There are 36 Jumping Horses, one Chariot, and one Tub.
Exchanging horses on County Fair Style carousels was standard practice due to usage and transport damage. Replacement horses cost an average of $35 to $50 in the 1920s.
C.W. Parker was well equipped to handle such exchanges. In addition to manufacturing carousels and amusement, carnival and band organ items, he dealt in used equipment and operated four amusement/carnival trains for the county fair circuits. The company ceased production of wooden horses in 1925 and closed in the 1950s.
Paul Parker, son of C.W., took over the business in 1930. In 1982 letters, he confirmed the records and identified the handwriting as that of his sister Gertrude Parker and his secretary Cecil Schenley.
In June of 1940, Park District 2 became the owner of #72. The district also acquired the Lake Minnequa Park Fun House Mirrors which were sent to the Pueblo Mountain Park Horseshoe Lodge where they remain today.