The Making Of: SpokaneCarrousel.org
A short yet captivating essay by Gary Nance
I've been asked by a number of people exactly how this website came to be. Here's my story (and I'm sticking with it!).
One time when I was at the park, I checked out the horses and saw what I thought might be the same horse! After checking the old picture when I got home, I decided that it was either the same horse, or a replacement made to look like the original.
Somehow, I felt a connection to that old horse. And probably more significantly, it helped me to remember my grandmother and the times that we used to spend together.
Several years passed, and whenever I found myself in Riverfront Park, I'd try to stop by the carousel and get another look at my grandmother's horse. In 2003, I took a position in an office downtown, just a few blocks from the carousel. I walked by the carousel often over the winter, and found that the old horse had been removed from the carousel, and was on display in the front window of the carousel building. The carousel was shut down for maintenance, and there was nobody there to answer my questions. So, it was time for a web search. Surely there must be something on the Web about our carousel and my favorite horse.
Web searches yielded a little information about our carousel, but nothing about the horse in the picture. I found other carousel sites on the Web with some good information about their carousels, some good pictures of their carousel figures, and even names for their animals. I was a bit jealous.
I wondered why our carousel, which has been so important to Spokane over the years, and which has been meticulously preserved even though it's been in operation daily for over 100 years, didn't have a website devoted to it.
So on the way home from work on the day before the carousel's 2004 season opening, I stopped by the carousel building, and inside there was a lady holding a can of varathane in one hand and a paint brush in the other.
When I described the horse, she immediately said "Oh, that's Miss Liberty! Yes, she's an original horse, as are all of the figures on our carousel. That's Arizona, and this is Daisy, and Athena is over there . . ."
They have names! Somehow, the carousel figures were no longer just part of an old antique machine, they were much more personal. Now let's see, if I can make Bette think that the website is her idea, maybe she'll let me have a crack at it.
"So Bette, There must be other people like me who would like to know more about our carousel and the horses in their pictures. Why isn't there a website devoted to our carousel?"
"Are you volunteering?"
"Well, maybe. I'll think about it." She may have been a little suspicious when I mentioned that I already had the domain name picked out. "How's SpokaneCarousel.com".
"A dot org domain would be better. A lot of the carousel sites won't link to your site unless it's a dot org site. And it really needs to be spelled with both one 'r' and two 'r's, since both spellings are correct."
"Ok, I'll see what's available and send you email."
As a serious note, all of the people that I dealt with when putting together this website, from the carousel operators and maintenance technicians to the members of the Spokane Antique Carousel Society, were pleasant, helpful and willing to go out of their way to help me get the information and the pictures that I needed for the site. Thanks to each of you, I appreciate it!
All materials on spokanecarrousel.org are
(c) 2004-2013 Spokane Antique Carrousel Society
unless otherwise noted.
All Rights Reserved.