Cottage Grove, Here to Help

Carousel Project is 85 percent complete

A little one poses for a photo on the Cottage Grove Carousel. PHOTO PROVIDED/FCGC

When the Friends of the Cottage Grove Carousel began the restoration process three years ago, a commitment was made to donors and supporters of the carousel, and to those with interest in following the progress.
The carousel restoration is approximately 85 percent complete. Most woodwork has been replaced and is now painted and ready for assembly. All steel connecting rods and other hardware have been reconditioned and made free of lead based paint, and are now repainted in bright colors. The remaining woodwork consists of part of the rounding boards and the two chariots.
Chariots on a Menagerie Carousel are the benches for those folks who do not mount a horse or other animal, but would like to ride the carousel. Also, the chariot will be designed for wheelchairs and handicapped individuals.
Most of the lumber material was donated by Starfire Lumber in Cottage Grove. There are 34 animals (zebras, rabbits, horses, chickens, dogs). Each of these animals are on a crankshaft that go up and down and is supported by bearings. The old style bearing, which came with the 1929 Hershall Carousel, were the grease-fitting variety.
Traditionally, these bearings did not have grease seals, so they needed to be greased every two weeks. Every now and then a gob of grease would drop down on an animal, or a person. These bearings were redesigned with modern material, by Russ McGuire, our project engineer.
The Kimwood Corporation in Cottage Grove manufactured all new bearings, so all bearings throughout the carousel are replaced with modern technology that do not require lubrication. This was a huge contribution by Kimwood to the carousel project- about $22,000.
The new upscale drive system, electronically, is being developed in Eugene by electrical firms. This consists of electronic speed and braking start-stop systems, and is a further donation of about $15,000. This all is required to meet modern OSHA and Ride Safety Standards.
Donations contributed by readers and viewers to the Friends of the Carousel have been used for liability insurance, fire and theft insurance, developing 501 ©3 plans, by-laws, promotions and advertising. We must keep in mind that without promotions, such as newspaper ads, brochures, radio broadcasts and placemats, the community would have no knowledge of the project. These all cost money. Hopefully, a dollar spent gets at least a $2 in return.
We are presently under contract to have a business plan written. A business plan is a necessity for any major grant writing, for buildings, land and a permanent location to house the carousel. We are also working with an appraiser of vintage carousels, who is in southern California, to appraise our updated work for replacement insurance values.
Another interesting note on carousels: It was reported that new projects in Washington – Gig Harbor is one – will tie carousels in with quality museums. As many readers know, this has been one a promotional idea had by the committee, since the concept of the committee. We have so many museums here in the west that are open only one day a week for a few hours.
But a museum built with a carousel as an anchor could serve a much broader venue of visitors. Tourism coming in on the weekend or evenings have no place to obtain visitors’ information, as the Chamber office closes at 5 p.m., and is not open on weekends. It has been our plan to have an area reserved for an information area, with trained staff, for those off-hours.
Project engineer Russ McGuire has developed a schedule for the show and tell of the carousel for the summer for those interested in seeing the carousel after it is assembled, with most of the animals in place. (Remember, it will NOT be running.)
There were photo opportunities where parents could take pictures of their children on the animal at the Western Oregon Exposition (WOE) Fairgrounds last weekend.
The carousel should remain up for visual viewing for the duration of the WOE Fair Aug. 17, 18 and 19.
It is hoped the original canopy – canvas top – can be cleaned and put in place, to show the carousel as it was built in 1929, minus the lead paint.
More info: Don Williams 541-942-4752/541-953-3444, or Project Engineer Russ McGuire 541-649-1210, Facebook @Friends of the Cottage Grove Carousel, and online at



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