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Susquehanna Life

Philadelphia Toboggan Co. Carousels: Although Abandoned Deep in Rural PA for Years, The Menagerie Carousel was Still Majestic

Jun 12, 2021 04:30PM ● By Barbara Williams

This is actually the PTC #9 building in Mount Gretna, before the carousel moved to Pine Grove.

Although Abandoned Deep in Rural PA for Years, The Menagerie Carousel was Still Majestic [9 Images] Click Any Image To Expand
By Barbara Williams
Special to The Carousel News & Trader, March 2009

“I know not very many merry-go-round people had ever seen PTC #9 until the NCA visited it during the 1980 convention. It was in rural Pennsylvania, which is really rural. The carousel had been sitting in the building, inoperable, for a long time. It was a deeply moving experience to see it in that setting. It was truly a step back in time.”

– Barbara Williams

Having lived in Southern California most of my life, I think of rural merry-go-rounds as being like Knott’s Berry Farm’s lakeside Dentzel that was across the street from the entrance to the park. The merry- go-round was in a pastoral setting, beside the parking lot for Knott’s, a grassy area that accommodated thousands of cars.

Going to Pennsylvania for the NCA conference in 1980 was my first encounter with what rural America was really like. We drove around visiting Merry-Go-Rounds at operating and defunct roadside parks in busses that barely fit on the narrow country roads, brushing against shrubbery as we whizzed along.

When we arrived at the site of PTC #9, I couldn’t imagine a merry-go-round being situated so far away from the rest of the world. It was a fairly long walk up a dirt road, past vintage picnic tables, before we came to a path that cut off and went into the woods. There, nestled in the trees, was the grand carousel.

Once inside the building it was no longer seemed to be 1980, but a long time ago. PTC #9 sat in repose, covered with dust, spider webs draped between the animals’ ears. The audience stood in awe of the magnificence of the animals and the patina of the original paint.

Cameras clicked, conversations were hushed, with quiet footprints imprinted into the building’s dirt floor as the onlookers viewed the found treasure. The visit ended much too soon and there would be no opportunity for a return. The merry-go-round had been sold and shortly after the NCA’s visit, the animals from PTC #9 were removed from the building and were re-sold individually.

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