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definition - Broad_Ripple_Park_Carousel

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Broad Ripple Park Carousel

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Broad Ripple Park Carousel
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
U.S. National Historic Landmark
File:Indiana Locator Map with US.PNG
Location:Meridian and Thirtieth Sts., Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
Coordinates:39°48′39″N 86°9′25.5″W / 39.81083°N 86.157083°W / 39.81083; -86.157083Coordinates: 39°48′39″N 86°9′25.5″W / 39.81083°N 86.157083°W / 39.81083; -86.157083
Architect:Mangels-Illions; Gustav A. Dentzel
Governing body:Private
Added to NRHP:February 27, 1987[1]
Designated NHL:February 27, 1987[2]
NRHP Reference#:87000839

Broad Ripple Park Carousel, also known as The Carousel of Wishes and Dreams, White City Carousel, or Children's Museum Carousel, is a carousel dating from 1919. It is now located within The Children's Museum of Indianapolis in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, where it is the museum's largest high-quality artifact.

It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987.[2][3]

About 20 other Dentzel carousels still exist and two also are National Historic Landmarks. These are the Spencer Park Dentzel Carousel in Cass County, Indiana, and the Highland Park Dentzel Carousel and Shelter Building, which survives in Mississippi.

Park Days

Broad Ripple Park was located in Broad Ripple Village, along Indianapolis's White River. In the 1890s, the area was a popular place for boating and swimming. White City Amusement Park was established on May 26, 1906, named after the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition that was held in Chicago, by Indianapolis entrepreneurs Dr. Robert C. Light and W. H. Tabb. Its main attractions were mechanical wonders like a scenic railway roller coaster, a Mount Vesuvius reenactment, and a water slide, with side attractions like functioning baby incubators. The next year (1907) saw a construction of a 250 feet (76 m) by 500 feet (152 m) pool as a major part of a $40,000 enhancement. On June 26, 1908, a fire started at the "Mystic Cave" attraction, causing $160,000 of uninsured damage throughout the park; only the pool remained unscathed.[4]

The park remained closed for three years. The Union Traction Company bought it on March 6, 1911, quickly restored it, and operated it for eleven years. The pool was the main attraction, with new buildings (boathouse, dance hall, dining hall) and playground equipment to compliment it. The pool would host three prominent events: the 1922 National Swimming Event and the Olympic tryouts of 1924 and 1952. In the 1924 event Johnny Weissmuller, of Tarzan fame, won the 100-meter freestyle qualifier. In May 1922 the park was sold to the new Broad Ripple Amusement Park Association, and in 1927 was sold to a brewery executive from Terre Haute, Indiana, Oscar Baur.[5]

By 1938 the park boasted of its concrete pool, billed as "the world's largest", 20 acres (8 ha) of free parking, a new ballroom, and mechanized rides. The Board of Parks Commission of Indianapolis bought the property on May 18, 1945, paying $131,500 for the 60 acres (24 ha) property, and returned the area to general recreation, destroying all rides they could not sell. Only the carousel remained in Indianapolis.[5] The steam locomotive is at the Indiana Transportation Museum at Noblesville, Indiana.[6]

The Carousel

The Carousel is one of three oldest surviving Dentzel menagerie carousels. The wooden carousel was built in 1917 on a Mangel-Illions mechanism, with its animals predating 1900. The domed pavilion housing the mechanism collapsed in 1956, destroying the mechanism. The Children's Museum purchased the animals in 1970, and using a different Mangel-Illions mechanism, plus an 1919 Wurlitzer carousel organ, restored the carousel from 1975 to 1978. There is no threat to the continued existence of the carousel.[2][7]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. http://www.nr.nps.gov/. 
  2. ^ a b c "Broad Ripple Park Carousel". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. http://tps.cr.nps.gov/nhl/detail.cfm?ResourceId=1990&ResourceType=Structure. Retrieved 2008-05-30. 
  3. ^ James H. Charleton (February 13, 1985). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Broad Ripple Park ("White City") Carousel / Children's Museum Carousel". National Park Service. http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NHLS/Text/87000839.pdf. 
  4. ^ Bodenhamer, David. The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis (Indiana University Press, 1994) pg.353, 354
  5. ^ a b Bodenhamer 354
  6. ^ Broad Ripple Park
  7. ^ © The Children's Museum of Indianapolis


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