This year has been a busy year for local nonprofit North Bend Art & Industry (NBA&I). One of the many projects they have been working on is bringing a historic carousel to the site of the organization’s Center for Art on North Bend Way.
Last year, Ernie Jenner joined NBA&I, and with him came the idea and the network to bring a nearly century-old carousel to North Bend. Ernie helped facilitate the carousel mechanism gift from the Freels’ Foundation. The mechanism includes the trim, platform, gears, and lots of accessories – basically everything except the horses.
According to NBA&I board member Debra Landers, the mechanism has an interesting history. It was built by two famous carousel makers in the early 1900’s. Daniel Müller created most of the wood carvings, panels, and benches. Then the mechanism was purchased by Dentzel, who completed the carousel with the gears, motor, and decorative plaster. It is believed to be the last carousel mechanism completed at the Dentzel factory in 1927.
NBA&I said while the gift is huge and exciting, it also brought some unique challenges as it had been stored for at least 30 years… on a pistachio farm in Madera, California.
Landers commented, “Bringing the mechanism to North Bend, was quite the adventure, which started six weeks ago, with a trip to Madera to meet with the Freels’ Foundation Curator. On this trip, the mechanism was reviewed and some of the more delicate pieces were driven to North Bend by a NBA&I Board Member. This was only a small portion of the mechanism though, the real challenge was the volume, size, and weight of some of the pieces that remained to be moved.”
NBA&I considered having a professional transportation company move the remainder of the mechanism, but said unsurprisingly, this option was very expensive.
Instead, the group drew on family members, board members and volunteers. Landers’ brother volunteered to drive to Madera, operate the large reach forklift, unload the pieces from the storage trailers, repackage them and finally re-load them onto 3 trailers. In the meantime, Founder and President of the Board Beth Burrows and board member Ellen Rowan, were busy in North Bend preparing for the arrival.
Landers said, “Then, with the help of amazing group of volunteers, the trailers arrived in North Bend, were unloaded, cleaned, inventoried, and stored.”
This is a huge community project that is just beginning. Next steps include mechanism restoration work – both the mechanical parts, the panels, wood, plaster, electrical, etc. NBA&I formed a Carousel Committee to lead the restoration charge, as well as begin the process of carving carousel animals.
This historic carousel will become the centerpiece at the Center for Art in North Bend, a place dedicated to being a home for local artists. Community members interested in being part of this carousel project can contact NBA&I. There are many ways to be involved from researching the history, finding drawings and/or schematics, restoration of the mechanism and carving of the animals, and more.