B&B Carousell Added to the National Register of Historic Places
B&B Carousell added to the National Register of Historic Places
We’re excited that B&B Carousell was just added to the National Register of Historic Places! NYCEDC played a key role in the preservation of this historic Coney Island gem, managing the meticulous 6 year restoration. You can watch a short documentary that showcases the restoration process.
History of the B&B Carousell
The period between 1880 and the early 1930s has been labeled as the golden age of carousel production, with between 2,000 and 3,000 carousels produced in Brooklyn during this time. Master carvers, mural painters, amusement ride inventors, and entrepreneurs emigrating from Russia, Lithuania, Germany, and Italy came to Brooklyn to find work in carousel design, fabrication, and construction. Of the 16 carousel producers operating nationwide during this time period, three were headquartered in Coney Island.
The B&B Carousell, constructed during the golden age around 1906, was one of many 50-horse and 2-chariot carousels assembled by William F. Mangels in Coney Island. The original configuration featured Marcus Illions carved horses, a 46-foot diameter deck, a 65-key Gebruder Bruder organ manufactured in Germany, and outer mural panels of vaudeville scenes painted by August Wolfinger. The bejeweled horses with physical expressions and decorative embellishments represented the epitome of Coney Island’s distinctive style.
After years of exchanging ownership, moving locations, and swapping horses, the City of New York acquired the B&B Carousell in 2005. The city subsequently commissioned a comprehensive restoration of the carousel to revive the vibrant colors of the original attraction. The B&B Carousell was shipped to Marion, Ohio where it underwent a meticulous restoration process for close to 7 years by restoration experts Carousels and Carvings, Inc.
In May 2013, the carousel returned to Coney Island and reopened to the public in the custom-designed Steeplechase Plaza on the boardwalk. As Coney Island’s last remaining historic carousel from the golden age of carousel production, the B&B Carousell serves as an essential link between this amusement area’s rich past and bright future.