The Trimper Menagerie Carousel Story

The pride and joy of Trimper Rides is our 1912 Menagerie Carousel. Its story began when Daniel Trimper built a new structure in 1911. He ordered it from the Herschell-Spillman Company in North Tonawanda, New York. It is thought to be one of two of its kind. The other one was destroyed in a fire on Coney Island.

It arrived by train but required assembly. The representative from the factory who was supposed to help assemble the carousel was called home to the factory. This left Daniel, his son Granville and anyone else around to build it.

Initially, the carousel was run by a steam engine. Legend has it that when the carousel no longer used the steam engine, it was too big to move, so it was buried under the Big Dodgems.

What Is On The Carousel?

The wooden carousel has three rows of animals hand-carved by German immigrants. The carving of the animals is now considered works of art. Then, it was thought to be a job, not artistry.

There are 12 jumping horses, 11 standing horses, and 25 menagerie animals. The animals are 1 camel, 2 cats, 1 deer, 2 dogs, 1 seadragon, 2 frogs, 2 giraffes, 1 goat, 1 lion, 2 mules, 2 ostriches, 2 pigs, 2 roosters, 1 stork, 1 tiger, and 2 zebras. The carousel also has 4 chariots.

Was It Really Built in 1912?

In our research, we have found four dates for the carousel. They are 1902, 1903, 1911, and 1912. The first two years can be discounted because the mechanism to move the horses up and down had not been used yet.

The 1912 date is what our family and company have used for years. The 1911 date comes from a newspaper blurb. It read, “Mr. Trimper has built a handsome carousel in Ocean City, which will prove a great attraction.”

This notice appeared in the May 13, 1911, Democratic Messenger. Or did it? When we scrolled through the newspaper online to look for the first page to verify the date, the first page was missing. So we’ll keep using the 1912 date until proven otherwise.

In 1996, our carousel received the National Carousel Award from the National Carousel Association. To learn which horse was our founder and patriarch, Daniel Trimper’s, favorite carousel animal read Daniel’s story.

Christmas at Trimper Rides