From 1940 until 1972, the carousel received good maintenance; the horses were repaired and repainted each winter and stored above the paint shop. But in 1972, the Parks Department carpenters and painters were reassigned and the carousel began to deteriorate.
A private collector, in late 1980, offered to purchase the armored horse. This triggered the Department’s research into the carousel’s value and generated considerable public concern.
Pueblo Citizens, in a series of community meetings, decided they wanted to keep #72 operating in City Park rather than sell it, make it into a museum exhibit or replace it with a modern plastic carousel.
The leaders of the group organized the Carousel Restoration committee and requested permission to solicit private contributions. City Council sanctioned the project and the committee went to work.
The Carousel operated with some horses missing while funds were being raised. The Rose Horse Trio was restored first and presented to the City Council in 1981. Colorado Governor Richard Lamm unveiled the Armored Horse Trio during a Chamber of Commerce breakfast, helping to maintain interest in the campaign.
The City Park Carousel was listed on the National Register of Historic Places by the U.S. Department of Interior in April 1983. Concern for the safety and protection of the restored horses prompted efforts for a protective building and a third move of the carousel in City Park.
It became the focal point of The Rides at City Park and the grand opening was held May 24, 1985 - exactly 71 years after #72 opened at Lake Minnequa Park.
The names of the individuals, organizations, trusts and foundations contributing over $250,000 to save the carousel are too numerous to list. Members of the Pueblo community provided more than that amount in time, talent, materials, and in-kind services.
The restoration was supported, both financially and with expertise, by very special friends in Colorado and across the nation. Nostalgic moments, experienced by individuals and families associated with the carousel were generously shared.
Carousel conservator Will Morton of Lakewood, Colorado restored the horses and chariot. The Pueblo art community, as its donation, provided the carvings and artwork for the building, rounding boards and interior frames and the City of Pueblo provided invaluable assistance. Without these many people, rallying to help the Carousel Committee during this 5-year project, the dream - our dream - would not have come true!