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The Carrousel at Hersheypark Marks 100th Anniversary

A Look Back at 100 Historic Years of the Carrousel

The historic Carrousel, one of the most popular rides at Hersheypark, turns 100 in 2019.

The ride was built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company (PTC) in 1919, making it one of the oldest carrousels in the country. Known as PTC #47, the Carrousel boasted 66 hand-carved, wooden horses – all of which are still in operation a century later.

Situated in four rows, the elaborately designed Carrousel horses are the staple of this classic ride at Hersheypark. Guests can choose between 42 jumping horses (meaning they go up and down), 24 stationary horses and two magnificent chariots.

From circus horses to prancing hunters and a horse painted chocolate brown and gold in honor of the Milton Hershey School, there is an option for everyone! Lucky guests might even get to ride the only horse that has a closed mouth.

History of the PTC #47 Carrousel

The Carrousel has a rich history of delighting generations of guests. It operated at two other amusement parks in Maryland and New York before calling Hersheypark home in 1945. 

Prior to purchasing the Carrousel, Hersheypark was home to a few other carrousel models. A used merry-go-round built by Herschel Spillman was actually the first ride to operate in the Park. It remained in operation until 1913 when a brand new, larger carrousel built by the William H. Dentzel Company took its place. The Dentzel carrousel was sold to an amusement park in Ohio to make room for the PTC #47 Carrousel. It later sold to Knott’s Berry Farm in Calif. where it operates today.

When the Carrousel arrived at Hersheypark, it was installed in a carrousel pavilion along Spring Creek where it remained until the winter of 1971. During the off season of that year, the Carrousel was partly renovated and carefully moved to the Carrousel Circle area of the Park. It was housed underneath a large metal canopy painted red, white and blue that paid homage to the time period it was built.

Guests can find the Carrousel in that same area of the Park today. However, in 2018, exciting plans were announced to relocate the Carrousel to a new place of honor at the front entrance of Hersheypark for summer 2020 as part of Hershey’s Chocolatetown.

Given the age of the Carrousel, artistic restoration is occasionally completed to preserve the history of the ride. In 1975, the organ that produces the traditional Carrousel music was completely restored. It is a 153-duplex Wurlitzer Military Band Organ that contains 164 pipes, 54 keys and 16 bells. (Restoration was again completed for the 2019 season to celebrate the 100th anniversary). Then in 1978, the Hersheypark Maintenance personnel completed a restoration of the hand-carved wooden horses, chariots and ride decoration, the latter of which features Miss Liberty and American Flags on the outer rim.

Today, hundreds of thousands of park-goers enjoy taking a ride back in time on the beloved Carrousel. You can, too, during the Carrousel’s 100th anniversary this 2019 operating season. Springtime In The Park at Hersheypark, an annual event held on April 6-7, 13-14 and 19-21, will mark the first opportunity to join in the celebration. For more information, visit Hersheypark.com.

Happy birthday to the Carrousel!