This carousel is apx. 133 years old. (That's close to 1000 yrs. old in dog years!) Our mom says she remembers seeing it when she was a little girl and has always remembered these horses, with their small size, agate eyes, leather saddles, and real horsehair manes & tails! But, she says her memory's fuzzy, as she thought it was located in Massachusettes. She was furry happy to find it again on the internet, quite by accident earlier this summer. We came here last weekend to see it for ourselves. Woos & a-roos, it looks pretty good fur being so old! And the best part was that we got to share ice creme cones with our pawrents afterwards!
The Flying Horse Carousel in Watch Hill, within the town of Westerly, Rhode Island, United States is one of two in the state designated as National Historic Landmarks, along with the Crescent Park Looff Carousel in East Providence. It may or may not be the oldest carousel in the nation, but it is certainly the oldest of its type ("in which the horses are suspended from a center frame"). The carousel is believed to have been built 1876 [other sources say possibly as early as 1874] by the Charles W. Dare Company of New York. It was part of a traveling carnival until 1879 when the carnival was forced to abandon the carousel in Watch Hill. Unlike most carousels, there is no wooden platform to support the horses but rather, they are suspended from chains. As a result, the horses seem to "fly" as the ride increases speed, hence the carousel's name. Each horse has a tail and mane of real horsehair and a genuine leather saddle. . . . It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987. It is located at the end of Bay Street in Westerly.
And isn't this sweet? [..... The carousel was originally drawn from place to place by a horse, and legend has it that the horse was so faithful to the carousel that when he died his tail was cured and inset into the rump of one of the carousel horses as a permanent memorial. The carousel survived the great hurricane of 1938 that killed more than 50 people and destroyed the homes on Napatree Point. After the storm, the horses had to be dug out of the sand! - Equine Ink]