Spokane Carousel Myths

There are many myths associated with our carousel. Here are some of them:

  • There were three spare horses included with the carousel

    Missoula Lilac
    Missoula Lilac
    At one time, three fiberglass horses were purchased for display purposes. When someone in accounting found the records for the purchase of three horses that were missing, a rumor started that there were three spare horses that had been sold off.

    In fact, one of these fiberglass horses is on display in the upper restaurant in the pavilion at Riverfront Park. The other two horses used to be on display in front of the gift shop, but are now in storage in a maintenance building at the park. The three spare horses never existed!

    We do have two spare figures for our carousel. Missoula Lilac, a gift from the carrousel team in Missoula is our spare horse, and Billy Bob is an antique Looff goat added to our carrousel in 2006.

  • All of the carousel figures are carved from basswood

    Actually, none of the figures are carved from basswood. The two chariots are carved from Chinese Elm and balsam. All of the other figures are carved from poplar.

    Geri Giraffe
    Geri Giraffe

  • Charles Looff personally carved all of the figures on the carousel

    At the time that our carousel was manufactured, Charles Looff was not actively involved with carving horses. It's very possible that he carved our giraffe, which is 10 to 15 years older than the rest of the figures, but that's probably the only one of our carousel figures that he worked on.

    However, his son was very actively carving figures when our carousel was made, and very likely carved many of the decorations under the rear of the saddles, as the style and time of manufacture closely matches his work.

  • Charles Looff's middle initials were I.D.

    It's been said that Charles Looff didn't have a middle name, and when he was told that he needed a middle name for his ID, he simply said that his hame was Charles I. D. Looff.

    However, a genealogy search has produced a Charles Jurgen Detlef Looff with a birthplace of "Bramstedt, Schleswig-Holstein, Preussen" who is probably our carousel maker.

    So, it is now thought that a clerical error or a penmanship error where an old-style J was mistaken for an I caused Charles J. D. Looff to take on the middle initials of I. D.

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