The Jantzen Beach carousel is somewhere, but its owners aren’t telling us where. Their silence about the beautiful machine’s future sends a strong message that it won’t be coming back to its old Hayden Island haunt any time soon.
Maybe it’s just as well. Any trace of the old Jantzen Beach Amusement Park, the island’s main attraction from 1928 to 1970, is long gone. And Edens, the South Carolina commercial property firm Edens that owns the property, didn’t create a space for the carousel in replacing the old SuperCenter with a patchwork of big box islands surrounded by parking. Once home to a wooden roller coaster, swimming pools, and a house of mirrors, Jantzen Beach now is just a place to spend.
Since The Columbian’s report last month that the carousel’s whereabouts remains a mystery, one knowledgable reader said he believes the carousel remains intact. He speculated that its owners likely would welcome being rid of the giant work of art that’s unlikely to produce any profit.
But many long for a return of this treasure of our local history. The Jantzen Beach carousel is the only surviving example of five enormous “Carry-Us-Alls” that C.W. Parker Co, of Leavenworth, Kan., made for amusement parks. The carousel’s central beauty is in its 72 elaborately carved and one-of-a-kind horses, which are all depicted mid-gallop or mid-jump. It features over 1,500 lights and hundreds of carvings.
Of the approximately 1,000 carousels built by the C.W. Parker, historians say only 16 have survived. (The Oaks Amusement Park carousel in Portland was built around 1911 by the Herschell-Spillman company.)