Faust Park houses a classic wooden carousel with historical charm and plenty of meeting space
By Lexi Wilkinson
Faust Park in Chesterfield, MO, is home to one of 210 classic wooden carousels still operating in the United States (Source: https://americanprofile.com/articles/history-of-carousels/). Originally built in 1929, the carousel’s first home was St. Louis Highlands Amusement Park. Through the efforts of the St. Louis County Historic Buildings Commission and the Faust Park Foundation, the carousel was restored and transported to its current residence at 15189 Olive Blvd in 1986. The Faust Cultural Heritage Foundation currently raises money for maintenance and restoration of the historic piece.
This classic wooden carousel features 60 hand-carved horses and four deer. The building in which the carousel is housed is a beautiful climate-controlled meeting space. According to the St. Louis County website, the 2400 sq. ft. Gallery space is available for private rentals, birthday parties, weddings, corporate parties, and business meetings. Renting this space includes access to the outdoor patio, catering, set-up, and – of course – use of the carousel. Currently, groups like Business Networking International – St. Louis Chapters, Friendship Village Sunset Hills, Chesterfield Chamber of Commerce and Parkway School District use the space regularly for meetings.
“The carousel is really a great place to work because it’s a unique piece of St. Louis’ history that really has a conducive space for meetings,” said Director of the Carousel Tonya O’Connell. “It allows people to be creative with their event and have a fun and relaxing atmosphere.”
Holding meetings at carousels is not uncommon. For example, Jane’s Carousel in Brooklyn Bridge Park, NY, is a classic carousel built in 1922 and features 48 beautifully hand-carved wooden horses and two chariots. The carousel regularly hosts private events of up to 150 people in the large glass building surrounding it.
The 1894 Coolidge Park Carousel in Chattanooga, TN also has meeting space attached to it. This carousel was recently refurbished and reopened to the public in 2012. Further south, in Highland Park in Meridian, MS, is another carousel which hosts events such as parties and weddings on the regular. This carousel was built in 1896 for the 1904 St. Louis World Exposition. On the west coast is the 1909 Looff Carousel, located in Spokane, WA, which was recently refurbished and reopened to the public, along with an event space in Spokane’s Natatorium Park.
These carousels and the St. Louis Carousel at Faust Park are included in a carousel census done by the National Carousel Association (NCA), an organization which works to “preserve the past, maintain the present, and ensure the future” of historic carousels around the nation. The NCA’s Preservation Fund, established in 1988, has grants available for restoration and maintenance of carousels nationwide. They work to facilitate restoration between restoration artists and companies. Their work also includes getting carousels on the National Historic Landmarks registry.
The National Carousel Association is hosting their 46th annual convention in New England this September in order to celebrate local carousels and raise money for the continuation of their work. The four-day event will include trips to as many carousels and museums as possible. For more information about the convention, visit their website at www.carousels.org.
Contact Tonya O’Connell at (314) 615-8344 or email at [email protected] for more information on how to rent the Faust Park Carousel and event space. MM&E
Lexi Wilkinson is a contributing writer from St. Louis.