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MMD > Archives > December 2010 > 2010.12.19 > 02Prev  Next

Restore America's Carousel Organs
By Mikey Mills

This being my first post to the MMDigest, I think it should be an
important one.  Here's a topic that was brought up in 2007 but hasn't
been discussed much since.

I've been struggling for years to urge Cedar Fair and Six Flags to fix
their organs (from worst to best condition, as far as I know).  Here is
a list of organs I think need the most help.

1. Wurlitzer 153 organ at Six Flags Over Texas.  As I've heard, the
organ just came with the carousel when it was purchased in the 1960's.
I also know that the organ hasn't played in over 50 years, since the
park's opening.

2. North Tonawanda organ at Griffith Park.  Griffith Park has a fantastic
Stinson organ playing style 165 music rolls but the North Tonawanda,
once again, hasn't played in over 50 years.  I heard the bellows somehow
were destroyed sometime around 1955.  There are quite a few of these
organs around so I couldn't see much of a problem of getting this organ

3. Wurlitzer 157 at Knott's Berry Farm.  The facade was recently
repainted and looks great, but this organ has been silent for many
years: the bell bars are clearly rusting, the drums have been removed,
though the organ still is behind the facade on top of the carousel.
In the 1980s and 90s, the circumstances weren't any different -- although
the 153 organ played, the 157 just sat there.

4. Wurlitzer 153 at Cedar Point.  According to some posts on the
Internet, the organ has been "destroyed" in the 2010 season, though
I highly doubt that it has been "destroyed" it has been in very poor
condition, most likely not playable since Richard Kinzel took over.
Some rumors say that Don Stinson fixed the organ for the 2006 NCA
convention at Cedar Point, I might have even heard it myself there,
but I do not remember that trip very well at all.

5. Bruder Elite Apollo organ at Corona Park.  I do not know much about
this organ but I know that the organ again is in very poor condition.
One of the roll frames plays style 165 music rolls while the other one
plays B.A.B. music rolls.  Some of the figures and maybe even some of
the pipes have been stolen.  As far as I know the organ has been worked
on very little in the past 10 years.

6. Gavioli at Kings Dominion.  Unlike Kings Island Wurlitzer 157 that
was kind of cared for by Paramount, though, since Kings Island was
bought out by Kinzel, the organ hasn't played since.  I'm not exactly
sure what how many keys it has but it supposedly plays "Artizan" rolls.
Maybe 87-key rolls?

7. Wurlitzer 157 at Kings Island.  This is my all time favorite organ,
it hasn't played in five years and is supposedly in storage in the
"Flight of Fear" roller coaster building.  Yes, this is the organ from
Paul Eakins' collection.  The magnificent gold and red paint faded to
a light tan and brown about 30 years ago, even though back then the
organ sounded good for what I've heard.  When Paramount bought Taft
Broadcasting's amusement parks around 1993, they maintained the organ
but really cut the budget.  For most of the time the organ was fully
functional after 1993, but when I went there between 2002 and 2005,
I saw cobwebs all around the facade and obviously the tracker bar
needed cleaning and the organ needed a good tuning.  In 2006, the organ
was silenced and in 2007, the organ was removed from the carousel.
It's a really nice organ, and CDs of it can be bought of it in it's
good age.  I really wish someone could get it playing again...

8. Six Flags New England Wurlitzer 146B.  Also previously mentioned on
MMDigest, this organ has received very little maintenance.  As I've
heard the facade has also been sold and the organ is just sitting there
in storage.

And that is the list of eight organs in the USA I think really do need
help.  Note that I did not mention the Ruth Model 38 at Crescent Park
because, yes, it does need to be converted at least to B.A.B. rolls and
preferably to the original scale.  But as I've heard it is sounding a
little better.

I also didn't mention the model 33 Ruth at Lake Winnie; the organ was
restored in 2006 and it is quite a loss that the restorer passed away
about a year ago.  The organ is not currently working but just has minor

Please respond if you have any questions or comments and contact the
park if you are willing to take the chance.  All of these deserve to
be heard!

Mikey Mills

(Message sent Sun 19 Dec 2010, 03:47:35 GMT, from time zone GMT-0800.)

Key Words in Subject:  America's, Carousel, Organs, Restore

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