The Brookside Park Carousel House, framed by dumpsters and orange caution fencing.
I could not believe that this building was going to be destroyed! I decided to take my daughters to the park on a cold January day to take some farewell photos.
This beautiful old carousel building in my adopted town will meet the wrecking ball sometime this month. The building is not a victim of suburban sprawl. It is a victim of powderpost beetles. These nasty little insects have been destroying the structure of the building. The building must be destroyed because of structural and liability issues.
The building used to house a classic wooden carousel back in its heyday during the late ninteenth century up until about 1939. The carousel was built by Gustav Dentzel, a German immigrant who started his business in Philadelphia. At the time a trolley ran from York to this popular little picnic grove. Bob Hoffman, founder of York Barbell Company and a member of the Weightlifters hall of fame purchased the park around 1940. From what I have read, the carousel was in operation until Hurricane Agnes caused severe damage to the structure and carousel in 1972. Mr. Hoffman donated the land and the park to the township and/or the YMCA adjacent to the park which bears his name.
I was told by members of the Greater Dover Historical Society that the carousel was sold to a large amusement park in California. I tried to do some internet research, but I could not find any evidence of the transfer of the Brookside Dentzel carousel. Some reports suggest that the carousel was dismantled. This horse was advertised on an antique vendor's site as a Brookside Park Dentzel original. The asking price is approximately $1500.
My children have fond memories of this park. It has been home to the old fashioned penny carnival, haunts in the park, pony rides and Girl Scout camp. We used the empty carousel building for craftmaking, cakewalks and halloween parties.
I have spent many hours of my free time researching this story. I have found more conflicting information than historical fact. I was thinking of painting a mural to honor the legacy of the carousel and the once glorious carousel house. When I tried to do some background research, I became a bit discouraged. Carousels are magical rides for small children. I have a picture of myself and my mom together on a carousel when I was very young! I tried to scan these in, but they need more editing.