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MMD > Archives > April 2007 > 2007.04.04 > 01Prev  Next

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Wurlitzer 165
By Dan Robinson

It is noteworthy that March 31 (this past Saturday), was the date
that the Wurlitzer 165 band organ at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
began playing for the Looff carousel there.  March 31, 1994, was the
day that the Seabreeze Park, Rochester, New York, Wurlitzer 165 was
lost to fire (with its Philadelphia Toboggan Co. carousel).

Thirteen years to the day after a 165 was lost, another 165 started
playing at another carousel.  So a sad date for carousel and band
organ fans has now become, at the same time, one to celebrate.

Until 1972, there were five Wurlitzer 165s playing at carousels --
at San Francisco's Playland-at-the-Beach, Los Angeles' Lincoln and
Griffith Parks, Seabreeze, and Glen Echo, Maryland.  (Another, at
Nunley's Amusements, Baldwin, Long Island, New York, had not been used
in some time when it was removed in the 1970s or early 1980s).

By 1994, the number had dwindled to just one.  What is now the Santa
Cruz organ left San Francisco's Playland-at-the-Beach when it closed
in 1972.  The Lincoln Park [Los Angeles] carousel was lost to fire
in 1976, and the following year, its Wurlitzer 165 (which had been in
a shop at the time of the fire) replaced the Griffith Park 165, which
became privately held.  That second 165 at Griffith Park was removed
in 1986.  The Seabreeze fire in 1994 left the Glen Echo organ the only
Wurlitzer 165 still at a carousel -- until last Saturday.

The arrival of the Santa Cruz organ marks the first time a Wurlitzer
165 has been newly installed at a carousel since, probably, 1939 (when
the first Griffith Park 165 was installed; in 1977 it was replaced with
the Lincoln Park 165).  And the Santa Cruz organ is the first 165 that
has _ever_ gone from private ownership back to use at a carousel.  Now
there are two Wurlitzer 165s at carousels once again (and there is also
one on public display at the Circus World Museum, Baraboo, Wisconsin).

Dan Robinson
Rochester, New York

(Message sent Wed 4 Apr 2007, 22:32:32 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  165, Beach, Boardwalk, Cruz, Santa, Wurlitzer

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