1908 Looff Carousel

1908 Looff Carousel2021-03-29T23:30:11-04:00

1908 Charles Looff Carousel

The carousel is one of the most popular attractions at Heritage Museums & Gardens. Made by Charles Looff in 1908, the hand-carved carousel has been thrilling riders for over a hundred years.

Charles Looff came to Brooklyn, New York from Denmark in 1870 at the age of eighteen.

Already a talented woodcarver, he found employment in a furniture factory. Looking to further expand his horizons, he persuaded the owner of a pavilion at the popular amusement park Coney Island to install a carousel at his establishment. Working alone, Looff carved, painted and assembled his first carousel. Looff was the earliest and most successful of the Coney Island carousel builders.

Looff started in Coney Island, New York, and then moved his factory to Riverside, Rhode Island, where his showpiece carousel still operates. In 1910, Looff moved his family and factory to Long Beach, California, where he remained until his death in 1918.

Between 1876 and 1916, he built about forty carousels; only about ten are still in operation today.

Looff Carousels are known for these decorations:

  • Sparkling mirrors
  • Glittering jewels
  • Gold and silver highlights
  • Lavishly decorated animals
  • Real horse hair tails

Our Carousel

The Heritage Carousel was purchased from the Looff factory located in Riverside, Rhode Island for a park in Meridian, Mississippi in 1908. It is thought that the carousel was owned and operated by the same family for three generations.

Generations of Memories

With over 4.5 million visitors since the carousel began operating at Heritage in 1972 (and countless more since its creation in 1908!) our horses have seen some wear and tear over the years. Fortunately, our carousel horses are on a rotational visit to restoration artist James Hardison’s workshop in Hull, MA.

Share your Carousel photos and stories with us!

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