Winter is upon us, and it seems an odd time of year to be writing about carousels, but I’ve had many people seeking information on the beautiful 1905 Dentzel Menagerie Carousel in Ontario Beach State Park.
In 1870, German immigrant G.A. (Gustav) Dentzel began carving menagerie carousels composed of both horses and other animals. Dentzel’s company, the Philadelphia Toboggan Company and D.C. Muller & Bro. all incorporated a more natural and realistic appearance than used by some other carousel manufacturers of the day, and their carving style became known as “The Philadelphia Style.”
The Ontario Beach State Park 1905 Dentzel Carousel consists of 22 jumping horses, 11 standing horses, 2 chariots, 3 cats, 1 deer, 1 giraffe, 1 goat, 1 lion, 2 mules, 3 ostriches, 3 pigs, 3 rabbits and 1 tiger and has been in continuous operation since its installation in 1905. This carousel is the only ride that remains from what was formerly known as “The Coney Island of the East,” an amusement park once located on the shores of Lake Ontario.
In 1984, Monroe County undertook a complete restoration of the merry-go-round, returning the hand-carved animals to their original glory, and at the same time, making the carousel ADA compliant.
Park Patrons of all ages enjoy riding the carousel, located at Lake Avenue and Beach Avenue in Rochester, NY, between Memorial Day weekend and Columbus Day, from Noon until 9:00 p.m., for only $1. The carousel is open 7 days a week from the end of June through Labor Day. At all other times, it’s open weekends only.
CLICK HERE to view photos of many of the individual carousel animals on the 1905 Dentzel Carousel at Ontario Beach State Park, courtesy of Marie Poinan and the National Carousel Association.
CLICK HERE to order a Commemorative 100th Anniversary CD of the carousel’s organ music, available from Dynamic Recordings for $14.95.
For more about Ontario Beach State Park, you may enjoy our article, Ontario Beach State Park in Rochester.