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MMD > Archives > December 2010 > 2010.12.20 > 01Prev  Next

Restore America's Carousel Organs
By Dale F. Rowe

Dear Mikey,  Greetings from The Bronx!  Not too many people recall
that Six-Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey had not one but two (2)
89-key Gavioli fairground organs when they first opened for business
in the mid to late 1970s.  One was placed on the English roundabout
(carrousel), the ride was operated via a steam powered stationary

Due to state law, a licensed stationary engineer was required to operate
it, but they (Six-Flags) decided that the costs of both the engineer's
salary and state inspections should be lessened, so the stationary
engine was converted to compressed air and a timer unit was installed.
Then the ride could be operated by an unskilled minimum wage teenager.
By simply hitting a start button the engine would start to chug to
get the ride up to speed and then coast until either the ride slowed,
to which it would chug to maintain proper speed, or the timer would
automatically bring the ride to a safe stop.

Now back to the Gavioli organs.  The organ on the roundabout had
a Plexiglas shield installed across the front (obviously as an
after-thought, as exposed figures and pipes, prior to the shield had
been vandalized from inquisitive patrons).  Unfortunately the organ was
not able to be played, the music books available on the ride were
damaged and precluded any possibility of being played.

Now onto the other Gavioli.  This organ was on a ride no longer on
Six-Flag's rosters.  It was a dragon gondola ride, and just like on
the roundabout the organ books were shredded by unknowledgeable

In the intervening years I'd asked the whereabouts of the organs --
they'd been removed from the two rides (the gondola ride was also
removed) -- and I was told the organs went into storage.  Later on
there were rumors that the facility where they were stored suffered
a fire.  And the trail grows cold...  Presently they are using canned
music on the roundabout (ugh!).

Hope this has been of some interest to you.

Happy Holidays!
Dale F. Rowe
Bronx, New York

(Message sent Mon 20 Dec 2010, 12:48:28 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

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

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