A historian adds details and corrects the record for the origin of the Seaside Heights carousel

The Seaside Heights Carousel IMAGE CREDIT casinopiernj.com

We quote below from a comment left on our Facebook page by Riverton Town Historian Paul W. Schopp that followed up on a post made here on July 29 about the historic Dentzel-Looff carousel in Seaside Heights.

In it, he further details its origin story and informs us that a photo thought to be that amusement was misidentified.

Contrary to prevailing folklore, no large fires that threatened the amusement park occurred on Burlington Island during the 1920s and certainly not in 1928. With the stock market crash of 1929 and the ensuing economic depression, coinciding with the demise of all Upper Delaware River steamboat travel, the various park rides and concessions closed down on the island.

The first fire to cause damage to the park burned with a fury on April 24, 1932, singeing support members on the Greyhound scenic railway and destroying several concession stands.

A second conflagration starting burning during the night of January 28-29, 1934. It brought additional devastation to the closed amusement park. Rides such as the Old Mill, the Balloon Race, and the Greyhound collapsed into piles of ashes as firemen stood by with little equipment readily available to fight the blaze except an old-fashioned bucket brigade. More than 300 firemen suffered burns and bruises. The Robert Merkle Company owned the park and a number of the amusements, while various concessionaires owned other rides and concessions. At the time of the fire, contractors had been preparing to disassemble the Merkle amusements and concessions and reconstruct them in Seaside Park, including the carousel.

original carousel pavilion – PWS

The original carousel pavilion was rectangular in design and could be completely closed up against the winter winds and elements.

A view of the second carousel house – PWS

At some point in time, management relocated the ride to a more traditional round carousel pavilion and repurposed the original pavilion as a casino for park visitors.

misidentified as Island Beach Amusement Park Carousel, may instead be the Eayerstown carousel – PWS

The carousel I first indicated as located on Burlington Island was incorrectly identified to me and I, in turn, repeated the error. I would posit that the carousel I incorrectly identified might be the carousel that operated in Eayestown for a number of years. – Paul W. Schopp

Published by

John McCormick

Teacher at Riverton School 1974-2019, author, amateur historian, Historical Society of Riverton Board Member 2007-2023, newsletter editor 2007-2023, website editor 2011-2023

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