Original Concept - Blueprint for a Dream

There's something magic about a carrousel! There always has been, and there always will be!

There are many factors that create the magic. From the treasured one-of-a-kind figures to the band organ music, the gold ring and the family atmosphere, the overall carrousel experience is like no other. And because of it all, it's hard to find a carrousel rider who isn't wearing a smile.

During the golden age of carrousels, the creators found yet another element that adds to the magic. They designed elaborate buildings to compliment the carrousels.

With the possibility of a new building for our Spokane carrousel, it's a good time to revisit the concepts used in designing the original building for our 1909 Looff.

Size, Width and Height:

In 1909 the Spokane Looff Carrousel arrived in Spokane as a totally designed package
In 1909, Spokane's Looff Carrousel was designed as a total package. The carrousel and its figures, its layout and its size and height were designed into a selected theme. To complete the theme, the building and the band organ were also designed specifically for the carousel.

The building was designed to be tall enough for the viewer to see the entire machine when stepping into the doorway. The circle surrounding the carrousel was large enough to handle the many riders anxious to climb on board, and to allow the riders to have space to pick out their favorite horses. The ring arm and clown target were placed in the best location for the optimum experience of grabbing for the gold ring.

Spokane's original carrousel building at the time of closure of Natatorium Park in 1968. The adjacent workshop is now a community center at San Souci Park. This original building was much taller than the present 1975 structure, and had stained glass celestory windows and a venting cupola.

Reflected Light:
The carrousel was designed to fit in a building that had celestory windows with stained glass panes at the appropriate height to create a "laser light show" when sun light streamed through, bouncing off the beveled glass mirrors of the upper rounding boards as the carrousel turned.

Air Circulation:
The buildings were capped by some form of venting cupola to allow the warm rising air to be expelled on hot summer days. The carrousel itself acted as a large fan that would pull in the cooler ground level air forcing the warm air to vent through this center ceiling vent. Carrousel buildings of today add ceiling fans to reverse this process during cooler seasons of operation.

Seattle, Alki Point - 1907
Looff Building with unique Looff trademark style and design.

Chattanooga, TN.
Interior of building with celestory windows. The new Chattanooga carrousel building was designed to properly house the carrousel.

The original wooden carrousel structures housed large band organs, the original form of mechanical music. They included hardwood floors and the sound of the band organ was often enhanced by draped flags or tapestries on the machine's sweeps. The outer circle included large areas for rows of rocking chairs for listening and space for dancing to the music. Many people today enjoy the carrousel for its music and its beauty without climbing on board for a ride.

Outside of original Spokane Looff Building with adjacent DodgeEm Car Ride building. Carrousels were placed in center front of the Midway to attract and please all visitors
The grand park carrousels had a pit for the jumping mechanism, which also allowed for drainage from any flooding. This pit often included space for maintenance, storage or work areas.

Access to the carrousels was always at ground level. This was also a marketing concept to lure the riders in with its bright lights, music, and the whirl of the largest, most elegant cooling fan on the midway. Located at the entrance of the area, it was the first welcome ride of the day and the last cooling farewell ride of the evening.

All materials on spokanecarrousel.org are
(c) 2004-2018 Gary Nance
unless otherwise noted.
All Rights Reserved.