Sunday, November 13, 2016

Carousel of Happiness


Current stressful political events in the USA made me think about a person who utilized their personal stress and sadness to do good, and to add happiness to the world in a small but valuable way.   
Scott Harrison's  Carousel of Happiness, located at 20 Lakeview Drive, in the Caribou Village Shopping Center, Nederland, Colorado was one such place of happiness for me. This autumn, my husband and I took our three year old granddaughter for a ride along the very scenic Peak to Peak Highway (Hwy 119), to enjoy viewing the beautiful fall foliage. We also wanted to treat our granddaughter to a few rides on the Carousel of Happiness, a place I had read about in the Denver Post.

(All photos and photo collages will enlarge for easier viewing when clicked on)


The carousel features 56 hand carved animals on a restored 1910 Looff carousel base. Charles I.D.Looff was one of the great carousel makers of the late 19th and early 20th century. During his lifetime Looff produced carousels for parks all across the nation. In 1910 he delivered one to Saltier Park, just outside Salt lake City, Utah, and which was later transferred to a state school in Utah when the Saltier went bankrupt. In 1986 the carousel was sold to a collector, who only wanted to keep the hand carved animals on it. A Nederland resident, Scott Harrison, learned that the empty frame was still standing and available, and with a help of a friend he took it apart and trucked it back to Nederland.


Scott had an idea on what he wanted to do with the carousel base he acquired,  and spent the next 26 years carving very original carousel animals in his wood shop, after his children went to sleep at night.


Although Scott never carved wood before, he started out by carving the rabbit that is now on the sign in front of the carousel (see photo above), and went on to create more than 50 one of a kind whimsical animals. He has stated that it was therapy for him.  When he was a 19 year old Marine serving in Vietnam, the music from a small music box, that he was given as a gift, evoked in him a peaceful image of a carousel in a mountain meadow. That image calmed him during stressful war time, and during his post Marine job with Amnesty International, where he often heard stories about the horrible torture of people. He wanted to bring the sense of calm and happiness that his war time carousel vision had brought to him to his community.


When Scott was finished carving all the animals, the town of Nederland (population of approximately 1500) came together to raise $700,000 to help refurbish the 1910 Looff carousel base and motor and build the carousel a home. A volunteer non-profit organization was also formed, dedicated to spreading joy to all those who ride.


My granddaughter loved her rides on the carousel!   The carousel is accompanied by musical tunes from a 1913 Wurlitzer band organ music, that add to the joy.


My husband and I took turns standing next to our little granddaughter, as she took multiple rides on different animals. It put a smile on all our faces!


The Carousel of Happiness opened in 2010 and has attracted over 250,000 riders since then.  It is fully enclosed and open year round. It is also fully accessible to people with handicaps and is available for rental for birthday parties and special events. Check the website for operating hours.  


Upstairs there is an observation window, a small party room, and a do-it-yourself puppet theater. There is also a  small store that sells toys and gifts, a book about the making of the carousel, as well as an online store.



The Carousel of Happiness was one man's vision and response to the horrors of war, and his job afterward dealing with tragic torture and abuse stories. Its mission was to replace such sadness with joy, and it has done just that for the benefit of many! 

May we all try to bring more joy into the world and make the world a better place, with peace, love, tolerance for all.

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41 comments:

Ruth Hiebert said...

That's a wonderful and inspiring story.Glad that you were able enjoy this place with your granddaughter.

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

How beautiful this is, Pat! The old carousel base bought back to life as well as healing the heart of a man that had seen the tortures of war. I love the photos of your granddaughter and you enjoying this unique place of happiness. What a wonderful story of hope and joy. ♥

Mascha said...

Such a beautiful work S. Harrison has done and what a luck and for all, who can use it. Wish, I could be there...
Greetings from Germany

Maggie said...

How wonderful it would be if everyone could ride this amazing carousel, such a treat for your granddaughter and you two as well.
Thank you for telling this heart warming story and sharing at Mosaic Monday, perhaps some of our MM 'ers will be able to visit the carousel one day.

Rajesh said...

Wonderful shots of the place. Looks like fun.

From the Kitchen said...

What a joyful read this morning. The animals are wonderful and the delight on your little granddaughter's face says it all.

Best,
Bonnie

Mildred said...

What a huge work of HEART! Thank you for sharing the inspiring story and your granddaughter is precious.

eileeninmd said...

Hello, Pat! The carousel is beautiful. The carved animals are just amazing, well done. Your granddaughter does look happy. Great post, thanks for sharing. Happy Monday, have a great day and new week ahead!

Linda W. said...

What a wonderful story! Your granddaughter looks so happy. This story really gave me a much-needed smile.

Jackie Mc Guinness said...

I love merry-go-rounds!

Snap said...

Wonderful story! I think every carousel should one of happiness. I always smile when I see one ... must be the reason why I visit the one at the zoo so often! ;) Happy Monday!

Claudia said...

The next time I am in Colorado, I will seek this out. There is something magical about a carousel. Maybe that's why you can find one in most European towns? The wood carvings enchant as does your grand daughter. Thanks.

Lorrie said...

What a wonderful way to bring joy. Riding a carousel is fun for children of all ages (even grandmothers!). There's a carousel at Butchart Gardens and I love taking my grands there.

Tamar SB said...

I love carousels!

Tami Von Zalez said...

Thank you for sharing that story. I have always loved carousels.

Ann said...

Oh my that is extraordinary!! The detail is wonderful.
Ann

Barb said...

What a great carousel - your story certainly put a smile on my face. It looks like Julia is having a ball!

carol l mckenna said...

Wow! Just in time for all of us ~ what a past week it was! ~

Beautiful grand daughter and grandmother and the Happiness Carousel ~ what a delightful story and gorgeous photos ~ thanks!


Wishing you a peaceful week ~ ^_^

Linda H said...

What a heartwarming happy story. If only everyone could ride this carousel of happiness! What a truly dedicated man, to spend so many years creating the carvings! Inspiring! Thanks for sharing this with us all.

Joy H said...

Pretty carousel! You don't see many of those these days. Your grand daughter is so cute.
Have a great week!

Wandering Wren said...

How gorgeous Pat, perfect timing for an uplifting story. Lucky you to have a granddaughter who is enjoys the ride!
Have a marvellous week
Wren x

Tomoko said...

Hello,Pat,
Such a sweet post. Your granddaughter is adorable. Love to see the photo in your mosaic, you and your grand together ride on a carousel!
Happy time to you!

Gayle - venturesinphotos said...

Inspirational - thank you for sharing.

Lady Fi said...

What a heart-warming story!

DrillerAA09 said...

This carousel would bring a smile to even the most somber faces. Thanks for sharing the images and the story.

Lowcarb team member said...

Lovely to read this and see your photo's.
Your granddaughter looks adorable.

All the best Jan

Villrose said...

Yes, you need a carosel of happiness now!
Good memories from the old carousel at Tivoli in Copenhagen :)

J said...

This is one of the most delightful posts I have ever read! What a beautiful story about an amazing gift of healing and joy to a community. What a talent Scott is! I am so charmed by the seated gorilla, the peacock and the cow! Not a thing about this is "as usual!" I certainly wish we lived nearby so I could visit the attraction with my own grandchildren. I am happy that this is possible for you!

jeannettestgermain said...

Sorry for getting back to you later (has to do with prepping my Open House). I really like it when a carousel has different animals instead of only horses! Being creative with one's hands IS therapy!Great story for ALL SEASONS, Pat, and even more that it is enjoyed by so many others - thanks you!

Jeanne said...

Hello Pat, We were traveling all day yesterday to arrive home from FL late last night. We came home to a full day of obligations, thus my late comment on my Blue Monday friends.

Your post is very heartwarming and the hand carved animals are amazing. The story of the soldier wanting to make people happy after the sadness of war is phenomenal and wonderful. I admire his goal of carving the animals for the happiness of others. His goal was met in an amazing carousel that is available to many.

I so agree that we should strive to bring more joy, peace love and most of all tolerance in the world. Starting her in the USA.

I love all of your photos but my fave is you and your precious granddaughter riding the carousel.

Happy Blue Monday,
Hugs,
Jeanne

Powell River Books said...

When I was a kid I loved carousels, but I would only ride a horse. When we first moved to Powell River there was one behind the theatre, but it was sold and moved away. I guess times change and kids want different kinds of things, even in small towns. - Margy

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Just the antidote needed right now, Pat. I loved the story behind this carousel, and of course, your granddaughter is just adorable.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

A perfect post for the time Pat. I'm working through those stages of grief and coming to the conclusion you ... so much quicker than I ... have already reached. Beginning to realize that I need to concentrate on what I can do in my own world . Thanks for helping me along.

I wish I could bring my great- grands to Nederland ... they are the perfect age for a carousel..... we've been to the sweet town quite a number of times with our Colorado family, but never on this amazing ride. Next trip ... at least to look ... and if I'm feeling particularly peppy, I might just jump on!

Mamá Bocachancla said...

Great carousel! Very funny!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

What a great post - and a wonedrful carousel! You've cheered me up - thank you.

Cathy said...

Thank you Pat for sharing this story. Love your pictures too.

eileeninmd said...

Hello, Pat! I enjoyed this post showing all the cute carousel critters. Your granddaughter is a cutie! Great post, thanks for sharing the story. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend!

Sarah said...

Pat, thank you for sharing this story and information. I love carousels! Putting this on my list of places I want to visit. In France, many of the towns have a carousel. I love to photograph the different ones, as each seem to have a theme. Obviously this little excursion was a very happy time.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Jann Olson said...

Hi Pat, I have got to go see this carousel some day. One of my friends told me about it. It is the carousel that was just down the road from my previous home. I now live about 8 min. away from it. We use to go there and play on the toys. It use to be called the Training School, but now is the Developmental Center. Thanks for sharing this post with SYC. Pinning.
hugs,
Jann

Mary K.- The Boondocks Blog said...

What a beautiful post, Pat. That one person with his vision can bring happiness and joy to so many. Such a selfless act. Thank you for sharing with us.

Photo(Geo)grapher said...

Great post and beautiful photos