Prairie Village News 6/19/18

Faron Wahl, Manager.

Waiting can be tough. It seems we usually must wait for those things in life worth waiting for. Typically, though, the more rugged the wait, the sweeter the reward.

More than a year and a half ago, our rare Herschell-Spillman carousel began a restorative journey which would breathe new life into this weary crown jewel of Prairie Village. Its 936-mile trek to Mansfield, Ohio, home of the Carousel Works firm, was only the beginning of that road to new health.

On October 3, 2016, our treasured carousel was carefully disassembled and packed away into trucks and trailers, after which the convoy of equipment carrying it pulled through our gate and headed east. Since the carousel’s original arrival here at the newly-founded Prairie Village in 1966, it had remained in its original location facing Highway 34. The permanent nature of its tenancy made the disassembly and exit 50 years later seem unnatural and hollow, as though a loved one had moved far away.

While its time at Prairie Village represents but a portion of the carousel’s entire life, that period seems a lifetime to our village family. And to many, it is that and then some. Countless folks carry memories of riding the carousel as a child, or perhaps recall taking their now-grown children for a ride. Others who grew up with it were still years away from their own birth when the Thomas Shows family and founder Joe Habeger sealed the deal which planted it here.

No wonder a pulsating wave of excitement has begun rippling now – knowing we’re about to turn the page to the final chapter of this restoration story. If all goes as scheduled, a week from now the good folks from central Ohio will be back on our grounds, this time putting parts together rather than taking them apart. That story line that just feels better, doesn’t it?

After the Carousel Works crew finishes their on-site work, we will be racing to complete many remaining final tasks. While we’ve prepared as well as possible for the big return, sub-projects such as upgraded electrical controls and other improvements will then need to be tied together – all tasks which simply can’t be finished until the carousel is home and assembled.

As I’ve talked about for some time, a celebration will follow. A homecoming, of sorts, representing not just our prize carousel’s first operation in its freshened clothes, but a kickoff to future generations who will, right here west of Madison, experience a rare artifact of Americana destined to only grow rarer. Quite the concept, considering this early 20th Century leisure ride is already likely the only one left of its type operating.

We’ll know and announce a late-July celebration date shortly, and we certainly hope you’ll join us for that grand day at Prairie Village. If anything was ever worth the wait, this qualifies.