Archive for the ‘Antique Carousel’ Category

While it’s probably snowing today up in Mass there’s good news too – the Paragon Carousel at Nantasket Beach opens for the weekend season tomorrow – Saturday April 2.

paragon carousel horse

The carousel (Philadelphia Toboggan Company #85 for those keeping score) was originally part of Paragon Park Amusement Park that made Hull a recreation destination until it’s untimely shuttering in 1985. Here’s a link to some of the photos I took of it the last summer it was open and the summer it was closed:

Paragon Park, Nantasket Beach MA – A Cautionary Retro Road Trip Down Memory Lane

Paragon Park 1984

If you like those photos here’s a link to the Paragon Park Memories Facebook Page, which is becoming a great resource for old photos and memories of this local landmark.

While the park is still gone I have plans to go to Nantasket this summer when back up home visiting the fam – I may even show up this summer to play Fascination! And it’s on my agenda to introduce the RetroRoadkids to this fave local summer destination, to see what summer fun was kinda like back when I was their age. C’mon summer (she  says as it’s snowing out here in PA, no April foolin’)

Paragon Carousel
205 Nantasket Avenue
Hull, MA 02045

Here’s a link to the Paragon Carousel Facebook Page

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Not sure what the weather is like where you are, but we’ve got snow-a-fallin here outside of Retro Roadmap HQ, so instead of going out on the roads, I’m looking backward down memory lane via my own photo collection.I figured I’d go back as far as I could in my own collection and start with Paragon Park, circa 1984.

Growing up, Paragon Park, a small amusement park in Hull MA just across from Nantasket Beach was my idea of the ultimate place to go, and we’d hopefully go there once a summer if we were lucky.

Paragon Park 1984While my mother caught up with her pal Betty, whom she hadn’t seen in years, and my sisters made new friends with Betty’s daughters I roamed around and snapped random photos with my new 35mm camera.

Paragon Park 1984 Guess Your WeightStill learning how to compose a photograph, I think back and realize that my penchant for photos without people in them was in force then, and I went as far as to scribble out the lady who was in the foreground of this photo of the Snack-a-rama. I’m so glad I caught the Art Deco lines and colors, as well as a bit of the ski lift ride as well!

Paragon Park 1984 Snack A RamaI have always been a fraidy cat about going on roller coasters, and I remember my mother telling me that when she was a kid she made my grandfather take her on the giant coaster, and it was the first and last coaster ride she’s been on! I thought it was pretty cool that the Paragon Giant Coaster was on the list of the Smithsonian’s Top Ten Coasters list.

Paragon Park 1985 6

I remember thinking that day that I would come back and photograph the place right, and get some good shots as there were rumors that the park would close after the next season.

Well friends, you never know what’s going to happen because the park never reopened the following season, and when I returned in the summer of 1985 I was greeted with this sad sign:

Paragon Park 1985 Public Auction
Not only had Paragon Park been permanently shuttered, but I had even missed the public auction of all of the goods from the place. I do recall later that year being able to pick up a trinket or two at Building #19, a local salvage and odd lot shop, but even now the sight of this sign makes me kick myself.

Paragon Park 1985 - Roller Coaster Giant Coaster Sign
I circled the site, which seemed so big when I was a kid, and realized how small it was, surrounded by chain link fencing now.
Paragon Park 1985 - Roller Coaster Cars

The Giant Coaster sat silent, and the undulating tracks looked like the skeleton of a dinosaur carcass, being slowly dismantled and eaten away at by the vultures that couldn’t wait to turn the site into a condominium complex.

Paragon Park 1985 - Demolition of Roller Coaster

All I was left with – besides a footprint on my backside for not taking more, better photos, when I did have the time, were my memories of having an all day pass – discounted by collecting match book covers – stapled to my shirt hem and spending the day riding the kiddie cars, the Congo Cruise, the merry go round and more, playing skee ball in the arcade and eating ice cream on a hot summer day.

Paragon Park 1985 - Exterior Arcade Sign

I still visit Nantasket when I can, thumbing my nose at the condos and visiting the carousel (PTC #85) that they saved and moved down the street. But it’s not the same. So folks, remember – tomorrow never knows – if there’s someplace or something you like – go there now, enjoy it, take photos, and do what you can to make sure it sticks around, because some day it might not be there anymore!

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UPDATE! Here’s a link to the Perkasie Carousel Schedule for 2011 :-)

There are just a few more Sundays left in the once-a-month schedule for the Perkasie Carousel in Perkasie PA, so get out there and take a spin on this volunteer run merry-go-round! I mean, who could not be grinning from ear to ear when riding on this:

I discovered the Perkasie (PER, ka SEE) Carousel a few months ago when I was killing time in the area while Retro Roadhusband had a sound check at a venue just down the street. I was positively fascinated to find this reminder of the good old times tucked away in a local park in this quiet community.  While the carousel wasn’t open then, I didn’t realize I’d have to coordinate my calendar to visit there, as they are open only the first Sunday of every month.

Here are the 2011 dates the Perkasie Carousel is open:

  • Monday May 30 11am-5pm
  • Sunday June 19 12pm-5pm
  • Sunday July 10 12pm-8pm (rain date July 17 12-8)
  • Sunday July 31 12pm-5pm
  • Sunday August 21 12pm-5pm
  • Sunday September 11 12pm-5pm
  • Sunday October 2 12pm-5pm
  • Saturday December 3 12pm-5pm

Perkasie Carousel Schedule

I was glad to make it to the area in time to see plenty of families gathering in the park for a Kiwanis chicken barbeque and heading over to where there has been a carousel since 1895.

Perkasie Carousel Sign

The carousel that is currently housed there (and run by volunteers of the Perkasie Anniversary and Historical Society)  has been there since 1951 (replacing the original that was moved off-site) and is an interesting, portable-design merry-go-round, made by the Herschell company.

Restoration of Perkasie Carousel History

It was made to be easily broken down and assembled in a short amount of time for touring carnivals, and that is why it looks somewhat different from the ornately carved ones you may be used to. There is no loss in charm however, as each one of these 36 cast aluminum horses have been lovingly painted by local artists.

Perkasie Carousel Horse

Did I even mention what an affordable treat a ride is on this historic carousel is? Since the Historical Society took over operation in 1970 the ticket prices have only been raised a whopping 20cents. That’s right, you can ride on the carousel for only 35 CENTS! I frankly don’t know much else you can do with 35c nowadays, and this ride is worth 4x as much, trust me.

Perkasie Carousel Ride Tickets

While waiting for my turn to ride I could not help but notice a different yet familiar sort of horse on display in front of the band organ.

Philadelphia Toboggan Horse
Upon closer inspection I could see why it looked familiar, as it was a Philadelphia Toboggan Company horse, similar to those on ol’ PTC #85 down in Nantasket Beach MA. I was curious to see why this horse was singled out, and I could not read past “On a summer day in 1946, 16 year old Rose met a dashing young U.S. Air Force Veteran…” without getting all choked up, despite the happy surroundings.

In Loving Memory(A memorial to Perkasie native Rose Ann Diehl who met her husband here at Menlo Park)

Trying to ignore my teary eyes, I turned towards the carousel and waited with the grandparents and younguns until it was our turn to ride. I climbed aboard the carousel and cheered myself by seeing the reactions of the little kids around me. One adorable blonde-haired little girl was positively bouncing in her saddle, giddy with the fact that she’d be giddy-upping in just a moment. I don’t think she was taking in the nice paintwork of the art deco styled interior of the carousel, but that sure made me smile.

Art Deco Lights at The Perkasie Carousel

With a few words from the operator the music began and the carousel began to whirl, and all of our horses started to up and down. I could not help but break into a smile, much like the little girl in front of me, as we circled around, up and down with the band organ music blaring. I loved the fact that the operator kept note of the time of the rides with an egg timer, and was impressed that the music was able to be muted quickly when it was time to speak to the riders.


I had seen the punched paper music rolls behind the band organ, but burst out laughing when the kindly ticket taker gave me the insider skinny and noted that the interior of the band organ been retrofitted with a computer so they could mute it from a distance. Ah, the modern world creeps in everywhere. (updated 11/2010 to note that Anglerfly Productions commented on the youTube video of the Perkasie carousel ” its a stinson band organ. it used to be an old one called the merri org.” = love it when people can add pieces to the puzzle- thanks Anglerfly!

So from choked up tears to silly grins to cracked up laughter, all of that was had for the price of a 35 cent ticket. I gave a few more dollars donation at the volunteer-run snack bar, bought a heap of postcards from the nice ladies at the volunteer run gift table, chatted with some of the locals and had a lovely day. FOR THIRTY FIVE CENTS!

This coming Sunday is one of the last that the carousel will be open for the season, so get to Perkasie and get your money’s worth!

Perkasie Carousel
W Park Ave
Perkasie, PA 18944
(215) 257-5460

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Greenport NY is so chock-a-block full of cool vintage and retro finds that I’ve been wrestling for over 2 months now with how to tell you all about it. You know what they say about a picture being worth a thousand words? Well here are my photos that will illustrate what an absolute FIND Greenport is, for the vintage lover or retro day-tripper:

The Antique Carousel:

The Carousel Kid

We took the car over on the ferry and the first sign of a cool place in my book was our visit to the vintage carousel right on the waterfront. I wasn’t the only one who was happy to see these 1920’s era wooden steeds (0rginally built for a traveling carnival) whirling around, and one of the Retro Roadgirls was more than happy to try and grab the brass ring.

Grab The Brass Ring

Walking along quaint Front Street I was directed to go check out the interior of the Arcade department store, as my hostess knew I’d love the wide wood plank flooring and incredible variety of useful items.

Arcade Department Store

I spoke with a lovely little lady at the far register who said that the store had been there for at least 70 years, but also noted that there are for sale signs in the windows. With a little bit of something for everyone – shoes, work gear, back to school items, notions, stationery, home goods, hardware, it would be hard to imaging what could fill the void if this place were to close. I bought some flower seeds and hope to plant them at the Hacienda!

Flower Seed Packets at the Arcade Department Store

I was SO wishing we hadn’t had such a tasty diner breakfast when I spied the vintage restaurant sign and charming interior of the Coronet.

Coronet Luncheonette Vintage Signs

One thing I love about Long Island are the luncheonettes, and will make a plan to come back with an empty belly and do a proper review of the Coronet, but for now I’m simply smitten with the vintage decor and positive online reviews.

Coronet Luncheonette Interior

Crossing the street towards the water we spied some authentic old businesses with trendy shops clustered around:

White's Hardware White’s Hardware is where I picked up a drain stopper for the old porcelain kitchen sink back home- do I know how to pick our souvenirs or what?

For the seafaring visitor, S.T. Preston & Sons is nothing but nautical. I’m a landlubber myself, but I did love the fact that the old cash register was still in use:

ST Preston & Son(I wonder, is that ST Preston or the son behind the counter?)

Little did I know that we were just across the street from the Oldest Same Family Owned Restaurant in the United States, Since 1870 – Claudio’s.

Claudio's Restaurant Vintage Sign

We were in luck that the Retro Roadgirls wanted to watch the World Cup and I wanted to do some investigation into this historic establishment, so we stopped here for a spell. I loved the old stained glass windows and friendly service.

Stained Glass Window

And I’m told the bar was installed in 1886 when it was salvaged it from an old hotel being torn down in New York’s Bowery. The day we visited it was swarming with soccer fans both local and international, and it was a heartwarming sight to see everyone getting together to cheer on the US Team.

The World Cup(seeing this less than good photo makes me want to go back, with Retro Roadhusband this time, so he can have some of the fun I did that weekend!)

You know, there are still a lot of neat lil places in Greenport I have to tell you about, so I’m going to break this post in two! Stay tuned, and in the meantime, here’s the map, so you can start to plan your very own visit to Greenport!

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If I wasn’t so busy getting ready to go on vacation with RetroRoadhusband, today looks like a perfect summer Saturday to jump in the RetroMobile and head to Knoebles Amusement park, nestled in the hills near Elysburg, PA. We went there 2 summers ago with the Retro Roadkids and their parents and I just could not let this summer go by without strongly encouraging you to go to this wonderful almost historic amusement park.

You Are Here

The Wikipedia page for Knoebles Amusement Resort sums up all the good stuff nicely when it notes “Knoebels Amusement Resort is a family-owned and -operated amusement park, picnic grove and campground, located in Elysburg, Pennsylvania. Opened in 1926, the park has more than 50 rides, free admission, two wooden roller coasters, a 1913 carousel and a haunted house dark ride that was featured on the Discovery Channel.”

One of the many great things I loved about this park was the free admission policy, as I am not as into riding the rides as I once was, so I don’t have to pay for a wrist band I’ll never use! This make the park a great place for extended families, and we saw many reunions and parties setting up in the picnic grove as we walked from our free parking into the park.

Once we got in I was thrilled with the amount of vintage signs, buildings and rides, all well kept and looking great surrounded by the welcomed shade trees.


The Loaf

Another wonderful thing that made Knoebels stand out in my mind was their food offerings- not just typical fried food, but more varied and healthy options from their cafeteria, full service restaurant The Alamo and even gluten free menu options- check out this link to see the menus, so many options! . Just pick up your tray from the pile, and get in line!

Lunch Trays

They also have one of my favorite amusement park snacks – cotton candy, or as this great vintage neon sign calls it – Candy Floss!

Candy Floss

And they’ve even got some old fashioned treats like birch beer and ice cream waffles, served under some wonderful vintage structures:

Ice Cream Waffles


A couple of more wonderful things about this place – before I get myself really wanting to head there! For the roller coaster fans they’ve got 4 roller coasters, one of which is the Phoenix which is a wooden coaster originally built in 1947 for Playland Park in San Antonio, Texas. While that coaster is the first one RetroRoadGirl rode, I was more happy with the sedate pace of the classic carousel, complete with brass rings. RetroRoadgirl seemed to like that part too.

Grab The Brass Ring

This carousel was built in 1913 and still uses original organs – not recordings – to play that classic carousel accompaniment!

There is a great kiddie area in the park, with rides for the small kids, and don’t worry they still have many modern rides for those more adventurous types. I can tell I’m getting old when I realize I’d rather tell folks about the Anthracite Museum located in the park, which gives a history of coal mining in the area, and also houses a great selection of memorabilia from Knoebels past, like this great sign:

Sady Hawkins Day

I really loved the dining area – perfect for parties- that was shaped like a giant birthday cake, replete with candles atop and being held aloft by peppermint sticks. So wonderfully old timey, I wanted to have my birthday celebration right there.

Best Birthday Cake

And they even have that classic game Fascination that I totally remember from Nantasket Beach (I wonder if that’s still there?). There’s also skeeball, my favorite sport!

The Knoebels website does a great job of showing all of their rides, attractions, foods, camping areas, pools and more, and once you see all the place has to offer, you’ll be putting this place on your list of summer must visit attractions too. I’m posting this early on a Saturday morning, get out there and go!

Knoebels Amusement Park
391 Knoebels Blvd Exd
Elysburg, PA 17824
(570) 672-2572

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While I traveled up and down the southern New Jersey shore in search of vintage diners, I took a break one afternoon and decided to visit the boardwalk in Ocean City, NJ. I had not been here in easily 15+ years, and am happy to report that many of the historic independently operated businesses on this family friendly boardwalk are still in operation. A perfect seaside destination for the family who wants to experience some of the nostalgia and old time fun of the Jersey shore.

Ocean City, NJ Logo 1928

A number of the buildings on the boardwalk have a somewhat Spanish/ Mediterranean look and feel to them because the Boardwalk itself was rebuilt (after a horrendous fire) in 1928. The medallion above is from the Ocean City Music Hall, which juts out over the ocean some 300 feet and, renovated in 1993  is a wonderfully example of this period architecture.

While the beach in Ocean City is constantly ranking #1 in Top 10 Beach lists, I did not dip my foot in the sand or surf, as the beach requires a tag. Instead I stayed the course on the 2.5 mile long boardwalk, which has mile markers for exercisers and lanes for whatever mode of transportation you happen to enjoy.

NJ Boardwalk Surrey

As I ambled down the boardwalk I first came across  Gillian’s Wonderland amusement Pier. This favorite destination of kids and parents is owned and operated by the Gillian family, who have had a place in the history of Ocean City’s boardwalk stretching back 70 years, when they originally operated the Fun Deck.

One of my favorite views of Wonderland is seeing the blocks with letters on them spelling out the word “Wonderland” as they spin silently in front of this stretch of boardwalk.
NJ WonderlAndThe location and amusement rides that you see today is  the 1965 incarnation of the family empire, and one of my favorite things about it is the vintage 1926 carousel. Built in 1926 by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company (PTC #75)- I can’t help but be happy when I see families making memories to last a lifetime while whirling around on a vintage merry go round.

Wonderland CarouselThe fact that it is very similar to the carousel of my youth (PTC #85) I’m sure reinforces my fondness for this classic family ride.

Continuing my exploration along the boards I found all sorts of snacks and foods specific to the boardwalk and summertime snacking. One sign I was glad to see was still up is the vintage Johnson’s Popcorn sign. A boardwalk staple since 1940 their caramel corn is still hand mixed in giant copper kettles.

Johnson's Popcorn Sign

Further down I came across Shriver’s Candies, a bustling corner landmark and the oldest business on the Ocean City boardwalk, opened in 1898. As I entered the bright and airy shop I saw folks picking out gifts and souvenirs and lining up the candy counter  trying to decide on homemade fudge, candies or the classic seaside treat – salt water taffy.

Shriver's Fudge & Salt Water Taffy

Still owned and operated by the same family, Shriver’s remains proud to sell the only salt water taffy made in Ocean City, and their fudge is made fresh daily right there in the factory at the back of the shop. You can peer through the glass to see the vintage machines in action in their spic-and-span production area.

Shriver's Fudge Made Fresh Daily

Speaking of salt water taffy, the Jersey shore seems to have a  corner on the market of classic taffy manufacturers, as Fralinger’s and James’ taffy are both represented here on the Ocean City boardwalk. Located in the classic 1928 Golden Galleon building, another fine example of the period architecture celebrated on the boardwalk.

NJ Fralinger's Salt Water Taffy Golden Gallion

James’ and Fralinger’s appear to be owned by the same family now, and I’m a big fan of their continued use of vintage graphics and packaging to evoke an old-time visit to the seashore. I’ve got a Fralinger’s tin AND a taffy barrel bank back at the Hacienda, and splurged on a tee shirt with the Fralinger’s gal on it, for beach wearing.


These few snapshots are but a mere TASTE of what you might be able to find when you visit the Ocean City New Jersey boardwalk. (The only thing you won’t find is an alcoholic drink, as the town is dry.)

Ocean City New Jersey Boardwalk
Ocean City, NJ

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It’s funny how some things end up on the Retro Roadmap and the Holyoke Merry Go Round is a perfect example.
Holyoke Merry Go Round Horse
Retro Roadhusband and  I had just eaten at Nick’s Nest and were waiting for the sun to set so we could get a picture of the glorious neon of Donut Dip (and also waiting to find a donut shaped space in our bellies after the hot dogs at Nick’s -!) As we drove around I suddenly had a vision a kitchen magnet that I had on my fridge in my apartment in Medford, MA and remembered that there might be a vintage carousel in the area. Through the modern power of cell phone internet and map technology, we were able to have a lovely visit to this historic carousel in downtown Holyoke MA.

Holyoke Merry Go Round House

Built between 1927-1929 the merry go round was part of Mountain Park amusement park that was in business on Mount Tom from 1894 – 1987. Manufactured by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company,  it is the 5th to last merry go round the company ever made, PTC # 80. When Mountain Park closed in 1987 a non-profit group was created in order to save the carousel from being sold piece by piece. The group successfully managed to keep the carousel in Holyoke and it is now the centerpiece of Holyoke’s Heritage State Park. The merry-go-round now has a John T. Hickey Preservation Fund, named after one of the originating members of the group (my mother’s maiden name is Hickey, I wonder if we’re related?)

We were glad to see that the carousel was in full swing as we walked into the roundhouse, with kids waving to their parents ( “Hi Daddy!”) parents taking pictures of their kids and folks setting up for a birthday party right next to the carousel. Open year ’round, the rides are a bargain at $1 a piece, making it an affordable destination for all- why don’t you stop by and give it a whirl!

Holyoke Merry Go Round
221 Appleton St
Holyoke, MA 01040
(413) 538-9838

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Salem Willows, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways:


Your delicious popcorn from EW Hobbs. Smelling it as soon as I get out of the car and seeing it popped in the old timey popping machines.

Hot Buttered E.W. Hobbs Popcorn(A swell pal of mine, knowing how much I loved this popcorn used it as packing material to ship me a wedding present, and I am not ashamed to admit I ate more than a handful of the stuff when I opened the box!)

E.W. Hobbs Popcorn Box

The carousel, with not just horses, but a menagerie of animals to ride on.

Camel Carousel(I also love that now that the Retro Roadkids are around I actually get to ride it, without looking like an odd duck).

Tickets For The Carousel Salem Willows


The gathering of old folks in folding lawn chairs on your grassy commons. I wouldn’t mind being that kind of old person.

The grand staircase down to the diminutive beachy area, reminding me that each little stretch of sand is precious among the rocky New England coast.

Steps To The Beach

Your claim to fame of being the only place on the planet to get a Chop Suey Sandwich, and the fact that this sandwich warrants its very own entry on Chowhound.

The wonderful vintage arcade games,  from musical monkeys to Mutoscopes and the fact that I had to get change for a quarter, because some of these wonders only cost 5-10 cents to play.

Salem Willows Arcade Sign
Salem Willows Arcade Viewers


The zig zaggy mid mod bandshell just waiting for some live music on a warm night.

Salem Willows BandstandAnd that bench just past it, overlooking the harbor, where anyone could just sit and watch the boats or just think about life and where it’s going.

The fact that you’ve been around forever and remain welcoming to all, so families and just regular folks can create some nice summer memories without having to break the bank.

Mod Betty

PS- Chronicle TV show was obviously reading my love letters, as it too has a crush on Salem Willows. See their “Going Retro” piece on Salem Willows here. No worries, The Willows loves all!

Salem Willows
167 Fort Avenue
Salem, MA 01970

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paragon carousel horse

Good news for vintage amusement park and carousel lovers! The Paragon Carousel at Nantasket Beach, Hull MA has won, by popular vote, a $100,000 grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The carousel (Philadelphia Toboggan Company #85 for those keeping score) was originally part of Paragon Park Amusement Park that made Hull a recreation destination until it’s untimely shuttering in 1985. Luckily the carousel was saved by some dedicated individuals and moved just down the street. Since then the carousel has seen its ups and downs (no pun, ok well maybe a little bit) and this grant will allow it to remain a highlight to a trip to the beach.

While the park has been replaced by uninspiring condos and many of the shops that line the avenue have seen better days, Nantasket Beach is still a place where those who can appreciate its past can spend the day at the beach, have an ice cream, play some arcade games and take a ride on a merry-go-round.  Admire the art deco bath house while you’re there, and reminisce about the simpler summer days before Disney became the standard.

Paragon Carousel
205 Nantasket Avenue
Hull, MA 02045

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This vintage carousel used to be the merry-go-round at Lincoln Park Amusement Park up the street in North Dartmouth. Built in 1920 by the famous Philadelphia Toboggan Company (#54) the carousel charmed children and adults alike for 70 years until the park closed.

Area residents rallied to save the carousel and had it moved to its current location. It now operates on the 2nd floor of a grand pavilion woth a wonderful view of Battleship Cove and  the  Braga bridge- one of the longest bridges in the state!

The Fall River area is a wonderful place to explore, I can’t wait to get back there.  Within 2 miles of the Carousel you will find the incredibly photographable  Al-Macs Diner and the Lizzie Borden Museum!

Carousel at Battleship Cove
5 Water St
Fall River, MA 02721
(508) 678-1100

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