History of the Celebration Square Carousel
In the spring of 1996, Saginaw Valley Zoological Society (SVZS) President Julie Stevens and board members began researching ways to strengthen and improve Zoo programs. This resulted in the suggestion that a carousel at the Zoo would be a delightful addition to the community’s recreational facilities.
Inspired by the concept, City Councilman Earle DeGuise mentioned the idea to Jerry Willis, a retired contractor, who developed a plan to replicate some of the classic carousel figures of the early 1900s. Mr. Willis consulted with the Tri-City Wood Carvers, whose enthusiasm for the carousel was unanimous. The formal presentation was made in the fall of 1996.
With the help of Delta College, volunteers had a space to begin work on all of the components for the Celebration Square Carousel. Soon, the space was filled with volunteers who helped with a range of jobs including carving, sanding, and even the all important job of sweeping up the wood chips.
Each animal is created with a hollow body to allow for contraction and expansion of wood under a variety of environmental conditions. The necks and heads are also hollow.
The Celebration Square Carousel was finished and ready for riders on July 18, 1998. It took 18 months, over 40,000 volunteer hours, and cost $750,000.
Animals of the Celebration Square Carousel
|Boy Bunny ||Christmas Horse - Miss Holly |
|Girl Bunny ||Cabbage Horse|
|Signature Horse (Lead) ||Scottish Highland Pony|
|Native American Horse ||Trappers' Horse|
|Bavarian Armored Horse||Fish Scale, Semi-Armored Horse |
|Zebra ||Viking-Armored Horse |
|Midnight Blue Dapple ||Sea Monster |
|Cowboy Horse ||Mexican Pony |
|Flag Pony ||Confederate Military Horse |
|Calvary Pony ||Indian Pony |
Along with the animals of the Celebration Square Carousel, there are also two chariot seats, ideal for those who wish to sit on a bench instead of the back of an animal. The first of the two chariots is designed after the Goodridge Brothers Photo Shop. The brothers photographed much of the region’s lumbering history. The second chariot, Dragons, takes you into a fantasy world of the sea including fire breathing dragons.
The Carousel also has carved rounding boards with local historical scenes and framed artwork.
The historical scenes include:
| Indian Camp on River ||Lumber Camp in Winter |
| Potter Street Train Station ||Lumber Camp in Summer |
| Postal Delivery at Messner Hotel ||City Water Works |
| Early Saginaw Church Scene ||Caledonia Coal Mine |
| Great Fire of 1893 ||Great Flood of 1904 |
| Ships Loading Lumber on River ||Water Pump on the Corner |
The Upper Scenery Panels on the Celebration Square Carousel also have many additional historical scenes including:
| Crystal Ballroom: Bancroft Hotel ||Fire and Police |
| Migrant Workers at Harvest ||The Fordney House |
| Bliss Park ||WW II, B-24 Bomber |
| Fort Saginaw ||Farm Scene |
| Cheif Shop-en-a-gons ||Flying Merkel Motor Cycle|
| Tri City Wood Carvers ||Making Ice on the River |
The Lower Scenery Panels include:
| Boating on the Bay, 1922 ||Stardust, Boating on the Bay |
| Ice Fishing on Saginaw River ||Fire at City Hall - 1935 |
| Winter Farm Scene ||Interior of School Room |
| Castle Post Office ||Gathering Maple Syrup |