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  • When was the Jantzen Beach Carousel built?
    Despite inaccurate claims on Wikipedia and elsewhere that the carousel was built in 1904 for the St. Louis World’s Fair, the Jantzen Beach Carousel was actually built in 1921 for installation on a pier in Venice, California. When its original owner, J.A. Ellis, fell behind on payments, it was repossessed and placed in storage in Long Beach, California in 1924.
  • Who built the Jantzen Beach Carousel?
    C.W. Parker, sometimes referred to as America’s “Amusement King,” owned a factory in Leavenworth, Kansas, best known for manufacturing shooting ranges and portable carousels designed for traveling carnivals. The carousel that would come to reside at Jantzen Beach was one of just four elaborate “park” model carousels designed by Parker for permanent installation vs. traveling use. It is the only one still in existence.
  • When did the carousel come to Jantzen Beach?
    The carousel was installed at Jantzen Beach Amusement Park in June of 1928. Installation was personally overseen by C.W. Parker.
  • How long did the carousel operate at the Jantzen Beach Amusement Park?
    The carousel operated at the amusement park for 41 years. When the amusement park was torn down and replaced by the Jantzen Beach Center mall, the carousel was preserved as the sole surviving attraction from the park. The carousel remained part of the mall until 2012, when it was disassembled and placed in storage.
  • How did Restore Oregon come to possess the carousel?
    The Jantzen Beach Carousel was nominated for a spot on Restore Oregon’s Most Endangered Places list back in 2012 following the demolition of its pavilion. As part of its Most Endangered Places (MEP) program, Restore Oregon provides hands-on technical support to help protect Oregon’s cultural heritage. The carousel’s listing as an MEP established Restore Oregon as the most evident steward to receive donation of the carousel from its former owners. However, this donation did not come with any funds to cover the cost of storage, insurance or restoration. Restore Oregon spent the first two years of its stewardship raising the money needed to house and care for the carousel before it could afford to begin restoration planning in earnest.
  • Where is the Jantzen Beach Carousel presently located?
    Currently, the carousel is stored securely in a warehouse in North Portland. For its safety, Restore Oregon does not publicly disclose its exact location.
  • How big is the carousel?
    The Jantzen Beach carousel weighs approximately 20 tons and has a diameter of nearly 67 feet. Its center mast is a towering 28 feet tall! One of the largest wooden carousels in North America, it features four rows of 72 horses and two chariots, with another 10 horses serving as spares. Most of the 82 horses are original to the carousel. However, several are even older and suspected to have come from the C.W. Parker Baby Q carousel which also operated at Jantzen Beach during the amusement park’s early years.
  • Is the Jantzen Beach Carousel exhibit at the Oregon Historical Society still open?
    On November 18, 2022, a multi-gallery exhibit sharing both the history of the Jantzen Beach Carousel and the preservation planning work Restore Oregon has conducted over the past two years opened at the Oregon Historical Society. In December 2022, a pipe burst and flooded the North Wing of the museum, forcing the exhibit to close until the building could be repaired. The exhibit reopened earlier this year and is scheduled to close on September 24, 2023.
  • Where can I view videos of artists working on the Jantzen Beach Carousel?
  • Why did Restore Oregon set a September 15 deadline for finding the carousel a home?
    September marks six years of “temporary” stewardship by Restore Oregon. With preservation planning complete and the pandemic mostly behind us, we believe it is time to move this project forward to the next stage, and we believe the carousel will be in excellent hands at the National Neon Sign Museum.
  • What are the carousel’s pavilion needs?
    The carousel must be housed indoors in a climate-controlled building measuring roughly 100 by 100 feet, with a center clearspan of 73 feet. The pavilion’s foundation needs to be able to accommodate the carousel’s weight of 20 tons without riders. To ensure its long term viability, the carousel also needs to have support functions nearby such as restrooms, event space, a gift shop, and restoration facilities. While the National Neon Sign Museum will need to construct a pavilion to house the carousel itself, all of the other necessary support functions already exist within the existing museum building, which should help keep pavilion construction costs manageable.
  • What is the current condition of the carousel?
    The carousel was last fully restored in 1995. After 17 years of heavy use and over a decade in storage, it requires cleaning, repainting and significant repairs. Although several horses and a cherub shield from the carousel’s canopy have been restored, full carousel restoration will take several years. Fortunately, Restore Oregon created and tested a Preservation Roadmap to guide the National Neon Sign Museum with future restoration.
  • What does Restore Oregon do?
    Founded in 1977, Restore Oregon works on the front lines and behind the scenes to empower Oregonians to reimagine and transform their communities through the preservation and reuse of historic and cultural places. We believe in a vibrant and equitable Oregon where historic preservation and reuse is crucial to solving the problems we face locally, statewide, and globally. As a statewide, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Restore Oregon represents thousands of community activists, homeowners, preservation-minded investors, and supporters and users of historic places across Oregon. We advocate for effective preservation policies and incentives, deliver preservation-focused education programs, and directly intervene to save endangered places. Learn more at
  • Where can I view a copy of Restore Oregon’s March 2023 carousel brochure which accompanied the Request for Proposals from potential new owners?
  • What is the focus of the National Neon Sign Museum?
    Located in the heart of The Dalles Commercial Historic District, the National Neon Sign Museum captures the history, craftsmanship, and culture that shaped America, as viewed through the lens of the signage and advertising industry. With a focus on the evolution of the electric sign, from pre-electric and gold leaf signage, to the invention and widespread use of plastic, the museum’s assets represent one of the largest collections of neon storefront signs in the world. The collection boasts an expansive range of signage and artifacts related to the sign industry, including many one-of-a-kind signs and displays that cannot be viewed publicly anywhere else in the world, including one of the rarest groupings of West Coast petroleum signs ever assembled, such as Richfield-‘Eagle,’ Seaside, Polly, Associated, and the Buffalo sign. Many long lost signage icons are displayed on full-scale, authentic storefront replicas. The museum is also home to thousands of vintage pieces of documentation and ephemera. Learn more at .
  • Why is the National Neon Sign Museum a good home for the carousel?
    The National Neon Sign Museum is located off Exit 84 on Interstate 84 Eastbound and Exit 85 Interstate 84 Westbound. More than 8 million cars travel by these exits annually, per 2019 figures from ODOT. Since its opening, the museum has become one of the top attractions in the Columbia River Gorge. More than 100 cruise ships bring guests to The Dalles annually (more than 30,000 visitors per cruise season, pre-pandemic), docking less than 4 blocks from the National Neon Sign Museum and The Dalles’ downtown shopping district. Aside from being a successful tourist attraction in its own right, The National Neon Sign Museum owns and occupies two parcels located at 200 East 3rd in The Dalles, Oregon. On one parcel sits the museum, which is housed within a fully-restored former Elks lodge that was constructed in 1910 and occupied by the fraternal organization until 1980. The museum building is home to both exhibit space and painting and gold leaf facilities where carousel restoration can take place in the future. The building also houses important support functions for the carousel such as restrooms, event space, and a gift shop. The National Neon Sign Museum parcel on the property is an adjacent surface lot where museum leadership intends to build a new carousel pavilion.
  • Why The Dalles?
    Sheltered from precipitation by the rain shadow of Mt. Hood, The Dalles is a sunny Oregon destination widely considered the eastern gateway to the Columbia River Gorge. Surrounded by high desert, forests, fields of wheat, fruit orchards and vineyards, and adjacent to the Columbia River, the area offers abundant opportunities for outdoor recreation including cycling, fishing, hiking, rafting, camping, boating, rock climbing, and more. Known for its rich history and strong track record of historic preservation and reuse, The Dalles is home to an annual Northwest Cherry Festival, a delightful collection of outdoor murals including those created as part of Northwest Muralfest, terrific food, drink and shopping options, a vibrant music scene, great volunteer opportunities, and the National Neon Sign Museum. For more information, please visit .
  • How can Portlanders visit the carousel once it is up and running?
    The National Neon Sign Museum is accessible by car, CatBus and river boat. Amtrak stops just across the Columbia River in Bingen, Washington; and within the next few years, people should also be able to bike from Portland to The Dalles via the Historic Columbia River Highway and State Trail.
  • What is the Carousel's history?
    1921 The C. W. Parker Superior Park Model #2 Four-Abreast Carry-Us-All carousel is built in Leavenworth, Kansas, by the “Amusement King” C.W. (Charles Wallace) Parker, for installation on the Pier at Venice, California. 1927 Hayden Island, Inc. agrees to purchase the carousel for their planned amusement park.The carousel is personally installed at Jantzen Beach Amusement Park on Hayden Island by C.W. Parker himself the following summer. It operated there for 41 years. 1970 Due to low attendance, the Jantzen Beach Amusement Park closes. Construction of the new, 500,000-square-foot Jantzen Beach Center mall begins. In homage to the site’s history, the carousel is refurbished in anticipation of installing it in the new mall. 1972 Jantzen Beach Center opens. 1976 The Jantzen Beach Carousel earns a spot in the The Guinness Book of Records for the world’s longest carousel ride, lasting 311 hours and 17 minutes. 1987 At 83 years old, the carousel is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. 1995 Threatened by mall redevelopment, but eventually saved by advocates in the community, the carousel is entirely disassembled, repaired and repainted. 1996 Carousel Day marks the grand opening of the Jantzen Beach SuperCenter with the unveiling of the carousel’s new home adjacent to the mall’s food court. 2012 With the announcement that the carousel will be closed to the public in anticipation of a mall remodel, the carousel’s last ride takes place at 6pm on April 22, 2012. With the demolition of the carousel’s pavilion later that year, Restore Oregon adds the carousel to their Oregon’s Most Endangered Places list. 2017 Jantzen Beach Center was sold to Kimco Realty Corporation in July. In September, the Jantzen Beach Carousel was donated to Restore Oregon. 2020 With funding from a variety of sources, preservation planning begins in earnest. 2022 Restore Oregon’s preservation protocol and several restored horses are unveiled as part of a multi-gallery exhibit at the Oregon Historical Society 2023 In March, with preservation planning complete, Restore Oregon reactivates their search for a new owner/operator to return the Jantzen Beach Carousel to operation. By May, as a result of a competitive RFP process, proposals have been received from communities around the state, kicking off site visits by Restore Oregon staff to determine the most viable new home for the carousel. September 12, 2023 The National Neon Sign Museum in The Dalles, Oregon is announced as the new owner and steward of the Jantzen Beach Carousel, ending years of uncertainty and putting the carousel on a path toward a bright new future!

(Restore Oregon 2023)

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