The Spillman Junior carousel was hand-carved by the Herschell-Spillman Engineering Company in North Tonawanda New York in 1922. The carousel has 20 ponies and 2 chariots, it is a children's Merry-Go-Round designed for traveling carnival use. It is not known what year it made its way to Coeur d'Alene for permanent installation at Playland Pier.
Playland Pier amusement park is built on a wooden pier overlooking the lake and public beach. It is enjoyed by generations. The park includes many rides & activities including a children's carousel.
The amusement park closes and rides are dismantled. The pier burns down in December 1975. The carousel disappears for over 10 years, to date no one knows where it was.
The carousel surfaces at an auction in Puyallap Washington in 1986.
Carol & Duane Perron, collectors from Hood River Oregon buy it and spend year restoring it and add it to their vast carousel collection. Carol (Jackson) Perron, a Coeur d'Alene native, is thrilled to have her childhood Merry-Go-Round. The carousel travels around the country for lease.
Local newspaper article relates how carousel history buffs Richard Le Francis & Julie Clark discover where the old carousel is. They would like to see it come home to Coeur d'Alene, and begin the quest to enlist local support. The Coeur d'Alene Press publishes an article about their goal.
Miracles Do Happen
New residents John & Pat Foote see the newspaper article and contact Richard Le Francis. John, a Montana native and entrepreneur is also a history buff and his family has carnival history. He and Richard reach out to the Perrons in Hood River to inquire if they would be willing to sell the old carousel. They agree and John & Pat purchase the carousel and gift it to the newly formed non-profit Carousel Foundation.
Home at Last
Carol Perron welcomes the ponies home. She is thrilled to see the carousel come back to her childhood city. Miraculously, the carousel comes home fully intact with all 20 ponies and 2 chariots. It still retains it's original park paint which Carol lovingly preserved. It also boasts newly painted art panels and new wood decking. It is ready for operation.
Local benefactor Bud Ford steps forward and generously donates $200,000 to the building fund. The location in the new Memorial Plaza is approved by the city and construction begins. Fundraising continues throughout the year as construction progresses.
June 9, 2017
The carousel opens to much fanfare and free rides for all thanks to Idaho Central Credit Union. Over 1800 riders ride the first day!
Special thanks to the many people and organizations who supported the carousel over the years. From $1 donations to large donations it all helped Make the Dream a Reality.