Seeing the Buffalo Heritage Carousel roundhouse building going up is one thing. Stepping inside is another. Earlier today, I was afforded the opportunity to check out the interior of the future home to the solar powered 1924 DeAngelis Carousel, at Canalside.
I had two initial reactions upon viewing the interior. First, it looks a lot bigger on the inside, than it does from the outside. Second, the sheer amount of wood is impressive.
“It’s renewable Douglas fir, new growth from Oregon,” said Carima El-Behairy, Director Operations and Development for the carousel project. “We’re using as mny renewable resources as possible.”
Using sustainable resources aligns with the overall theme of the carousel project, as the carousel itself will be powered by solar.
As we walked and talked, Carima clued me into a couple of other points of interest, which I was not previously aware of. “On that side of the carousel [pointing to the side nearest the water], there will be a Heritage Center. That’s where we will have Bob Kresse’s (Kresse was a civic leader and philanthropist) carousel horse – the lead horse that is not going on the carousel. The Center will also have a 4-foot, scaled down, fully-operational carousel (not modeled after the DeAngelis Carousel), where visitors will be able to see all of the different perspectives, and how a carousel works.”
Aside from being brilliantly, naturally lit, Carima also told me that 5 of the 8 roundhouse walls open up to the outdoors, which means that during the summertime there will be an open-air vibe.
All the music for the Carousel will be supplied by a Wurlitzer Carousel Band Organ, Model 153, it is currently on display at the Hershell Carousel Factory Museum until the Carousel is installed.
In addition to the tremendous amount of blonde wood, and the captivating carousel itself, there will be plenty of other objects of interest to behold. Numerous fanciful and ingenious design details are currently being installed, including iridescent metal-fabric panels to hide wiring and mechanicals, and a gutter system that runs through the roof, and then outside (HH Richardson would be proud).
Ultimately, the carousel will not only be fun, it will be enlightening. There be hands-on teaching tools to demonstrate how the solar components work, and there will be educational programming that will detail the history, the craftsmanship, and the regional heritage, all of which will make this showcase development a destination unto itself at Canalside. That said, having the new Longshed Building and Explore & More children’s museum nearby will help to create a collaborative multifaceted attraction of magnanimous proportions.
Carima told me that she expects that the carousel will be installed mid March to early April – “Still on target for Memorial Day opening.” There will also be a new website launching soon that will feature all of the ins and outs (and rounds and rounds) of the project, including the history, the programming, maps, updates, photographs, and even opportunities to book the carousel for special occasions.
“We’re going to get it open and do it right,” Carima stated.
To date, this is the only project that I can think of where the act of “horsing around” is not only encouraged, it’s productive!
History: The vintage carousel was manufactured in 1924 by Spillman Engineering in North Tonawanda for Dominick De Angelis. The carousel was in operation until the 1950s at which point it was stored by the De Angelis family until Buffalo Heritage Carousel acquired it with a goal of providing family-oriented recreation on Buffalo’s waterfront and to celebrate Western New York’s industrial heritage.