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Day Trips

Ride a piece of history at Brenham's antique carousel

By Gerald E. McLeod, Fri., July 12, 2013

Day Trips
Photo by Gerald E. Mcleod

Brenham's antique carousel looks practically brand new, even though the painted ponies are somewhere north of 112 years old. A recent, very expensive renovation returned the horses' shine. A contributing factor to why the horses look so fresh is because they are used only a few days a year.

Dr. Wilfred Dietrich, a retired professor from Blinn College, says the city bought the merry-go-round in 1932 from a farmer after a traveling carnival dumped it in his field outside of town. It was restored for use at the Washington County Fair, the oldest county fair in Texas. In 1935, the carousel was enclosed in a 16-sided stone building.

A hobbyhorse manufacturer in Brooklyn, NY, carved the ponies sometime between 1867 and 1901. The horses lack fancy ornamentation, which was common on portable carousels because they were easier to transport. The colorful pine steeds do have friendly smiles, flowing manes, and are frozen in mid gallop. Very few of this style of kiddie rides remain in use.

The Brenham carousel is in Fireman's Park at 910 N. Park. The carousel is open every Friday in July from 10am-1pm for $1 a ride. The rides are free on the second and fourth Fridays, June through August, from 6:30-8pm. It is also open for the county fair and special events during the year. For more information, go to www.visitbrenhamtexas.com or call 979/337-7244.

1,145th in a series. Collect them all. Day Trips, Vol. 2, a book of "Day Trips," is available for $8.95, plus $3.05 for shipping, handling, and tax. Mail to: Day Trips, PO Box 33284, South Austin, TX 78704.

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