MEMORIES OF ELDRIDGE PARK
he kids of the Fifties were fortunate to see and experience what was probably the last dying breath of an attraction that few of them will forget - the Merry Go Round at Eldridge Park.
Well, not so fast! As we all know, Elmira now has their carousel back and then some. A group that calls itself the EPCPS (Eldridge Park Carousel Preservation Society) has restored the carousel to new again - with new animals and a refurbished motor and carriage. There are photos you can see of this restored gem at the EPCPS home page, which is hosted by EldridgePark.US - just click here to go visit their site.
The photo above, however, shows us what it looked like back in the good old days. Our vantage point is the approximate location of the ring mechanism, which was a contraption that dispensed metal rings that were grabbed by riders as their position went around. Once each ride, a brass ring was loaded into the ring contraption with all the other steel rings and the lucky person who latched on to that brass ring got to ride free next trip.
A few riders were talented enough to grab more than one ring on a go around. Some could grab as many as three or four. It was a matter of fast hands and long arms. The organ music coming from the hub of the Merry Go Round blared away and kids with ice-cream cones, cotton candy and sticky fingers purchased ride tickets from an attendant in a caged booth nearby.
Simultaneous screams of fear and joy emanating from the building next door gave evidence that a popular Fifties haunt known as the Spooks House was as busy as ever. The whine of the little electric engines in each of the bumper cars across the way and the smell of ozone created by their sparking contacts as they dragged across the ceiling above all added to the ambiance of a wonderful evening at Eldridge Park.
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