Skip to Main Content

Kings Island

Kings Island announces important updates regarding the rest of the 2020 Season. Learn More.

Skip to Next Section

What goes around...

John Keeter

Kings Island Blog Contributor

It’s no wonder why Kings Island holds a special place in the lives of so many – it has a heart.

In 1926, Philadelphia Toboggan Company carousel #79 made its debut at Cincinnati’s Coney Island. Standing 80 feet wide and featuring 48 horses (including 28 “jumpers”) and two chariots, the carousel is adorned with 37 oil paintings (depicting scenes from all over the world), 20,000 sheets of 23-karat gold leaf, 1,000 sheets of sterling silver, over 700 lights and hundreds of mirror accents. Understandably, all that glory didn’t come cheap, and it cost over $200,000 to build (that’s nearly $3,000,000 today!).

The carousel operated successfully at Coney Island for 45 years while surviving routine Ohio River flooding. Most famously, during the devastating 1937 flood, some of the horses floated away and were later retrieved nearly 500 miles downstream.

After years of use, the owners of Coney Island initiated a massive $50,000 overhaul to the carousel in 1969. All of the mechanical operations were re-conditioned, its oil paintings were painstakingly re-painted and the horses and chariots were stripped of over 40 years of paint. This was done in preparation for its new home.

When Coney Island was dismantled, the carousel made its way to Kings Island for its grand opening in 1972. It found life in the Coney Island-themed section inside a new Victorian-themed carousel house featuring over 500 additional exterior lights. A replacement 1926 Wurlitzer Duplex Orchestral Organ (#157) was purchased by Kings Island for the carousel. The organ had originally operated in Ocean Grove, New Jersey and later traveled to fairs across the country. The organ has a history all its own, and even had two professionally recorded albums released featuring its 21 songs.

Soon after the 1972 opening of Kings Island, the carousel was featured in the Partridge Family episode “I left my Heart in Cincinnati” filmed at the park. The cast is shown riding the carousel during a montage set to the song “Together We’re Better.” However, a year later, when the Brady Bunch filmed at the park, the carousel was not seen, rather heard. During the opening credits of the Brady episode “The Cincinnati Kids”, the recorded version of “Ben Hur’s Chariot Race” is played from the carousel’s band organ.

To this day, the carousel undergoes a painstaking process of upkeep every few years. In addition, horses are cycled off for a season so they can be restored, while “back-up” horses take their place. If you pay extra special attention to the outside stationary horses, you may catch a glimpse of one of the three signature horses – these figures include the letters PTC (Philadelphia Toboggan Company) cleverly carved into their saddles. You may also notice that some horses have initials painted into the front of their bridles. It is a great honor to have your initials added and it is reserved to those very dear to the park.

During Kings Island’s 45th anniversary season, the Carousel will be celebrating its 91st birthday. Next time you visit, be sure to take another spin on this beautiful piece of history. You’ll be amazed at how strongly a nearly century-old heart can beat.

Share This

John Keeter

Kings Island Blog Contributor

Post a Comment

Skip to Next Section

Sweet treats homemade for guests 

As opening day for our season passholders is less than a week away, Kyle Kruthoffer check in on our amazing Sweet Spot confectioners to give you a little “taste” on what they've been up to.
Read More

Official Orion POV video released

The wait is finally over! The first official POV video of the new Orion roller coaster at Kings Island. Designed exclusively for Kings Island by Switzerland-based Bolliger & Mabillard, Orion makes its public debut July 2 when Kings Island opens for the 2020 season to season passholders.
Read More

Orion at first sight

The new soundtrack for Orion provided by IMAscore, a German recording studio well known for their theme park scores, really sets the atmosphere for the new testing grounds, and complements Flight of Fear as well.
Read More

We're all in this together! 

We want your visit to Kings Island to be AMAZING and want you to feel safe when visiting, so we developed an extensive coronavirus reopening plan – new processes and enhanced procedures throughout the park to help reduce the spread of germs.
Read More

Kings Island prepares for start of 2020 season

Kings Island is coming back to life with associates working hard to bring some good ol’ fashion fun back to the park for the start of the 2020 season. Not everything is old fashioned, however.
Read More

Introducing Kyle Kruthoffer 

Introducing Kyle Kruthoffer, who joined the KIngs Island team in the role of video content producer. Be on the lookout for fun blogs, taking Kings Island Blog readers behind-the-scenes, historical facts, photos and videos!
Read More

Kings Island ready to debut new Orion roller coaster

Orion, Kings Island’s newest roller coaster, will make its highly anticipated debut when the park reopens for the 2020 season to season passholders July 2-11, with others admitted beginning July 12. 
Read More

Kings Island hiring in preparation for start of 2020 season in July

Kings Island is accepting applications online in preparation for the start of the 2020 season in July. A diverse range of job opportunities are available including admissions, food and beverage, guest services, merchandise, rides, security, sweeps and warehouse.
Read More

Kings Island mourns the passing of Tom Dillingham

It is with great sadness that Kings Island mourns the loss of its manager of rides maintenance, Tom Dillingham, who passed away Thursday at the age of 61.
Read More

Kings Island's Scrambler gets new cars

New cars have been installed on the Scrambler, which has delighted generations of people and been a staple attraction in the Coney Mall sector of the park since Kings Island opened in 1972.
Read More