European Carousel

Opened: 11 Apr 1964
Closed: 1983
Manufactured By: Wilhelm Hennecke – Uelzen, Germany
Ride Model: Auto Carousel

Newly installed European Carousel at Lagoon in April 1964. Photo courtesy of Deseret News

This little ride, imported from Europe, featured different forms of motor transportation in place of horses and animals. It was much smaller than the Carousel. Some of the miniature vehicles on the ride included such things as a streetcar, fire engine, sports cars, motorcycles and scooters. In later years, some vehicles were replaced with horse-drawn buggies and zebra-print safari Jeeps.

Streetcar on the European Carousel. Photo courtesy of Deseret News
A row of motorcycles behind the streetcar. In the background you can see a fireman on top of the fire engine’s ladder. Photo courtesy of Deseret News

They were manufactured from the 1930s to the ’50s. In the beginning, at least, the vehicles were made of wood with leather seating. It’s possible that later models like Lagoon’s were made with more contemporary materials like aluminum or fiberglass. The building was made of wood and featured animals in athletic scenes. Carved wooden figures playing musical instruments sat in the center of the ride.

Detail on the outside of the roof. Photo courtesy of Deseret News

The European Carousel lasted about two decades in Mother Gooseland, but didn’t survive heavy snowfall during the 1983-84 off-season. According to Peter Freed in a Deseret News article, “The snow crushed the roof…The ride was ruined beyond repair. It was quite an old ride. They don’t make it anymore, so we were forced to buy a brand new ride called the Red Baron.” The Red Baron opened in its place in 1984 and has been operating there ever since. Whether or not any parts of the ride were salvaged is unknown.

The film above is probably from around the late 1960s to early ’70s.

European Carousel, 1973
European Carousel, 1973. Photo: Laura Moncur, Starling Travel (color corrected)
European Carousel in 1977. Photo courtesy of Deseret News
Aerial view of the European Carousel ca. 1975. Photo courtesy of Lagoon
Aerial view of the European Carousel, date unknown. Photo courtesy of Lagoon
Newer vehicles are shown in this night photo of European Carousel in August 1983. Photo: Nile Miskin

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LINKS

Watch a similar carousel in operation at another park

Red Baron

Mother Gooseland

Springtime Recovery At Lagoon – More about the 1983 floods

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SOURCES

Lagoon Opens Saturday With New Attractions. Deseret News, 9 Apr 1964.

Hills, Bruce. Raindrops keep falling on Lagoon on opening day. Deseret News, 20 Apr 1984.

Moncur, Laura. Lagoon 1973 (Part 5 of 7). Pick Me!, 21 Jul 2006.

Auto Carousel for sale. Kimble Concepts & Jeff’s Antiques, accessed 9 Jul 2017.

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