Broad Ripple Park Carousel
A second National Historic Landmark Dentzel carousel is located in Indiana (the other is in Logansport). Formerly a part of Broad Ripple Park, the carousel is now housed at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. It is one of three of the earliest carousels to have a virtually intact collection of Dentzel animals.
In 1917 the White City Amusement Park purchased 42 pre-1900 hand-carved wood Dentzel animals and a Mangels-Illions mechanism to construct a carousel (The history of the animals from c. 1900-1917 is unknown). Other amusements in the park included a roller coaster, baseball diamonds, football field, cinder track, and bath houses. The Temple of Mystery, Huffman’s Auto Speedway and dodge’em cars were later additions. The amusement park continued, albeit in deteriorated condition, until 1954 when it was sold to the City of Indianapolis. In 1956 the carousel was virtually destroyed when the domed pavilion housing it collapsed. The animals were salvaged but the rest of it was thrown away.
In 1965, the Children’s Museum acquired two of the horses for a display. Four years later, they purchased another 35 figures and put them in storage. By 1973, the decision was made to keep a couple of the animals and sell the rest of the collection. However a trip to the National Carousel Roundtable in 1973 convinced the Museum to restore the carousel and put it on permanent display. From 1975-1978 five of the remaining six Dentzel animals were located (the last figure is a Dentzel replacement), all figures were restored, a new Mangels-Illions mechanism was purchased, and a 1919 Wurlitzer carousel organ was installed. Today the fully-restored carousel is located on the 5th floor of the Children’s Museum.