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The Kit Carson County Carousel

Nearly 4,000 wooden carousels were hand-carved in America between 1885 and the 1930s, but today, fewer than 150 remain. One of the finest of these survivors can be found on the county fairgrounds at Burlington, Colorado.

The sixth of 74 carousels manufactured by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company between 1904 and 1933, the Kit Carson County Carousel is a three-row, stationary machine housed in a 12-sided frame building. It is the only antique carousel in America still having the original paint on both the scenery panels and the animals.

The carousel was manufactured in 1905 for Elitch Gardens, a Denver amusement park. It was operated there until 1928, when it and a magnificent band organ were sold to Kit Carson County for $1,200, an "extravagant expenditure" ultimately costing the county commissioners their jobs.

Since 1976, the 46 hand-carded animals, four chariots, 45 oil painting, one-of-a-kind Wurlitzer Monster Military Band Organ and all the other myriad pieces and parts of the old merry-go-round have been restored to their original selves, and visitors today can experience the same sights and sounds that fun-seekers of a hundred years ago found so marvelous!

Many grants and private donations made the restoration possible, and on-going maintenance and operations are financed through ride proceeds and other fund-raising projects. The Carousel is open as a museum from 1 to 8 p.m. daily, from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Admission is 25 and includes a 20-minute tour and a magical four-minute ride!

The Kit Carson County Carousel has been a National Historic Site since 1979 and a National Landmark since 1987.

Visit the National Carousel Association.

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