Since 2003, Buffalo renewable energy activist Joan Bozer has been rallying support to bring a historic, locally manufactured, carrousel to the waterfront. We’ve been following Joan’s pursuits since the beginning, and are happy to see that her dream might soon become reality. After the arrival of team member, now Project Director, Laurie Hauer-Laduca into the fold, the young go-getter immediately set out to find the appropriate Herschell Carrousel Factory model that would fit the bill for Buffalo.
It didn’t take long for Laurie to track down the ideal carrousel that held all of the site specific specs for the waterfront. “She found it in Ohio,” Joan told me. “It’s a menagerie (lots of different animals), which is very rare. Once the carrousel (circa 1914) was identified, the Wendt Foundation offered up $250K for the purchase, contingent that we work to find the appropriate site in Buffalo. The site must be on the waterfront, in close proximity to the new Children’s Museum. And as we all know, the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) is now looking for a new site for that museum.”
This past year, we have seen firsthand just how many people are looking for family-friendly activities at Canalside. The waterfront destination has been a huge hit thus far, and continues to attract vast numbers of visitors. The carnival that was held in May attracted thousands. Joan sees the carousel as being a permanent year round fixture in Buffalo, that is representational of this city’s history in manufacturing, cultural bounty, and sustainable energy realms. “The carrousel will be solar powered,” Joan stressed. “It will be enclosed, making it a year round attraction – something that our waterfront desperately needs. It will complement the children’s museum too. There will also be a number of added amenities that will help to make the carrousel a financially sustainable attraction, including interactive exhibits (solar and historic), and additional space for birthday parties and events. For years, we have been researching best the best models from around the country, so that we were prepared for this day. Everything in Buffalo is getting hotter now, and this carrousel in on the front burner.”
As for the carousel that was identified in Ohio, the beast has been owned by the same family since it was first commissioned to be built in North Tonawanda, now the home of the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum.
From the start, the museum has been a stalwart mentor and advisor on this project. “We see this project as a way to collectively enhance our attractions,” observed Joan. “The addition of the carrousel to the waterfront helps to tell the Buffalo story, and would interlink the waterfront with the museum. Just think of the people who would come across Canalside attraction, and then explore the area beyond the waterfront. That’s additional economic impact. Not to mention the historic and energy aspects of the ride. The horses were carved by Buffalo immigrants. The renewable energy speaks of our past and our future as a renewable energy powerhouse (from Tesla to Musk). We want to incorporate a Wurlitzer organ (also made in Greater Buffalo) into the plan, which adds more historic Buffalo flavor to the waterfront.”
Moving forward, the primary objective is to secure the appropraite site, thus securing the grant. From there, additional moneys will have to be raised to restore and transport the carrousel. In order to get the ball rolling even faster, the committee wants to establish as a 501C3 in order to accept future donations. Corporations and foundations could each sponsor an animal’s restoration.
Can you imagine? Instead of simply having a carnival, or a small traveling generic ride, Buffalo could land a whale of an attraction with this fascinating and fun, rare beauty. Hopefully the community rallies behind this very prideful Buffalo attraction that exudes fun-loving animal magnetism.
Lead image: Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum