Endangered: Historic Jantzen Beach Wooden Carousel

Outside horse on the Jantzen Beach carousel. Image courtesy of the National Carousel Association.

On April 22, one of Portland’s last remaining carousels in operation, will shut down, according to the recently established Friends of Portland’s Wooden Carousals Facebook page. The historic carousel has been in operation at Jantzen beach since the 1920s, having first been part of the old Jantzen Beach Park prior to the site becoming a shopping mall.

In 1987, the carousel, along with four others, was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Jantzen Beach carousel was built by C.W. Parker. According to National Register documentation, this was the only Parker-designed carousel of such grand size in the U.S., that is still operational. The carousel is also noted for its distinctive galloping horse design. Unfortunately, the carousel was “de-listed” from the National Register back in 2008, ostensibly because it was to be moved to the Portland Children’s Museum. But as the carousel was never actually moved, should it have been de-listed? That question remains to be answered but if anyone has any further insight on the Jantzen Beach carousel issue, please share it with us here.

It would be a shame to lose this great historic resource – one of the only remaining objects that helps tell the interesting story of how a one-time amusement park was turned into a shopping mall.

For more great photos of the Jantzen Beach Carousel, visit the National Carousel Association website here. There’s even a link with more information about the beloved carousel.



Filed under Historic Preservation

6 responses to “Endangered: Historic Jantzen Beach Wooden Carousel

  1. My parents rode this carousel. I rode this carousel. My children have ridden this carousel. The PCM needs to step up and pay for the removal, transport, and installation of this carousel.

  2. Good news! It looks like the historic carousel will be restored and returned to Jantzen Beach after renovations to the mall. Here’s a link with more info: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/edens-to-re-establish-jantzen-beach-as-a-dominant-regional-retail-destination-scheduled-to-open-in-fall-2012-2012-04-02

  3. I am a big believer in preserving history. I think it’s a shame it will be shut down. Maybe a petition would help.

    • Mike, it appears that the owners of the mall will re-install and rehab the carousel as part of a big mall renovation. That’s good news, but I know people will be watching and waiting for the carousel to return.

  4. I hope the carousel is reinstalled. I have to say that I was saddened to read the history of the previous restoration, where they stripped the horses and repainted them. Part of preserving history is documentation and proper restoration, and too often our historic items are not properly preserved. ~ Kate

  5. TL March

    The Carousel made the HPLO most endangered places in Oregon list.

    Check out this video on carousel history. Duane Perron wrote the original national register nomination for the Jantzen Beach Carousel-sadly the carousel was de-listed.

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