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What has happened to craftmanship and pride?
One thing I do know is that it is alive and well in Riverside at the Looff Carousel!
Tim and I ventured to East Providence to see what was left of my old stomping grounds. Beside a ton of graffiti which I will show you in a later blog, we found a jewel untouched and as beautiful as it was over 30 years ago. The carousel is housed in one of Looff's classic "hippodrome" buildings.
Charles I.D. Looff was a master carver. The carousel was built in 1895 and used as Looff’s showroom. Customers would come from all over the country to view and select the horses they wanted for their rides.
I was surprised to see that kids of all ages still reached their arm out to grab the brass ring. As I heard brass fog bell ring, I knew the ride was about to begin. A small hourglass affixed to the snare drum cabinet of the band organ is what would determine the length of my ride.
Today it is one of the only carousels in America where riders can play the ring game by grabbing a brass ring to earn a free ride. After catching the rings, riders throw them into the cut-out mouth of a clown face painted on a large canvas
The carousel was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987 and today remains "the State Jewel of American Folk Art” The carousel horses are as beautiful as I remember. If life leaves you feeling empty, take a ride, take a chance and reach your arm out and go for it, grab the brass ring of life, joy and laughter at Crescent Park, in Riverside, Rhode Island.
The restored ride continues to operate every summer.
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