Dentzel Carousel

Photographs are from the Burlington Carousel Festival this past weekend. The festival this year was to celebrate the 100th birthday of Burlington’s City Park carousel built by the Dentzel Carousel Company of Philadelphia sometime around 1910. It was built originally for a park in Ohio and was purchased by Burlington and moved to North Carolina in 1948. Dentzel was one of the premier carousel makers at the beginning of the 20th century and the Burlington carousel is absolutely gorgeous. Consisting of 48 hand carved animals (including 26 horses) and beautiful painted panels, it is a prime example of Art Deco wood carving. It is in very good condition, because from 1981-1985 it underwent a very careful and complete restoration to bring it back to it’s original beauty. I rode the carousel when I was a very young child, and I remember the thrill of clinging to those prancing horses. By the looks on the faces of all the young children (and adults) on Sunday, the thrill is still there.

Interestingly, on Sunday there was an added bonus. At the Friends of the Carousel tent, William Dentzel, grandson of the maker and the fifth generation of his family to make carousels was on hand to talk about his family’s history. He is still involved in producing carousels, by helping on restoration projects and by building new ones using traditional carving and technology. For more info and a more complete history, go to

(Photographs copyright 2010 by Dan Routh)