Museum program will discuss Savin Rock, Quassy carousels

Published on Tuesday, 9 July 2019 15:48


BRISTOL - The New England Carousel Museum will host a program Thursday discussing lost and abandoned carousels in Connecticut - and, in at least one case, efforts being made locally to restore them.

The program will begin at 6 p.m. with a wine and cheese reception at the museum at 95 Riverside Ave., followed by the program from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Museum tour guide Kristen Berggren will lead the discussion.

“The program will cover carousals that are defunct, whether damaged by a storm or abandoned,” said Cassandra Lavoie, museum manager. “It will cover their history as well as what happened to them. Kristen has been a tour guide here for a year or two now. This is her passion; she definitely knows what she is talking about.”

Carousels that will be discussed include the Savin Rock Carousel in West Haven, the Quassy Lake Amusement Park Carousel and another, lesser-known carousel which once stood in Unionville Center in the 1800s.

“A lot of people have been asking her (Berggren) about Savin Rock and Quassy,” said Lavoie. “There will definitely be a couple that people will recognize and grew up with as well as others that they might not have known about.”

The presentation will also cover the restoration of the carousel at Sonny’s Place in Somers which is being done at the New England Carousel Museum. This 1925 Philadelphia Toboggan Company Carousel stood from 1925 to 1928 at Delaware Beach, New Castle, Delaware. From 1929 to 1945, it was at Lakewood Park in Waterbury. It was then refurbished at the Philadelphia Toboggan Company Factory in Philadelphia from 1945 to 1951. It then stood at Kiddieland Park, in Melrose Park, Illinois, from 1952 to 2009 and was in storage in Chicago, Illinois from 2009 to 2017 before being purchased by Sonny’s Place.

Morgan Urgo, executive director of the New England Carousel Museum, said that the carousel museum has been working to restore 48 horses and two chariots since then.

“We are just over halfway done,” she said. “The 28th, 29th, and 30th horses have just been restored.”

Berggren encouraged people to come to attend her program.

“Carousels were a prolific form of entertainment and income for our state around the turn of the century,” she said. “From Hartford to Milford and from the shoreline to the smallest towns, more than 100 wooden carousels were in operation in the Nutmeg state in the early 1900s. Today, only four remain. Come and learn about some of the most beautiful carousels that once operated in our own backward and what became of them.”

The program is free to attend with general admission to the museum. Adult admission is $8, seniors and students with ID are $7, children ages 2 to 14 are $5 and children younger than 2 get in free. Admission is free for museum members.

Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or

Posted in The Bristol Press, Arts, Bristol on Tuesday, 9 July 2019 15:48. Updated: Tuesday, 9 July 2019 15:51.