Story City Carousel – Story City, Iowa - Atlas Obscura

Story City Carousel

Story City, Iowa

This hand-carved wooden carousel in the Story City North Park was built in 1913. 

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The oldest carousel in Iowa features animals from pigs and roosters to dogs (with the classic horse as well) and a spinning tub if you need some more movement. The ride was built in 1913 by the Herschell-Spillman Company, which was known for its elaborate carousels and other amusement park rides.

The carousel was originally owned by P.T. Gifford, who toured the Iowa countryside bringing the ride to county fairs and town celebrations. In 1938, the Story City Greater Community Congress purchased the carousel from Gifford. During a restoration in 1982, the carousel was repainted by hand and moved from a parking lot near main street to its current permanent location. A map inside the building shows all the places from around the world that people came from to see this site.

The site in the North Park is run by volunteers from Memorial Day to Labor Day. It still spins to the old music generated by a 1936 Wurlitzer Military Band organ that is located in the center of the carousel. Every so often volunteers have to rewind to start it again.

Know Before You Go

The carousel starts running in early summer, and has limited hours. Check the website or Facebook page for hours and other information.

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