Virginia History Carousel

Carousel History

The vintage carousel was purchased from the Onancock Fire Department at auction in the spring of 2007. Its horses were refurbished in 2008, transforming it into an educational and historic tribute to Virginia.

This carousel combines three individual carousels made in the 1940s and 1950s by Alan Herschell, the most prolific carousel maker.

The original horses were made of wood and were considered so valuable that they were sold to make money to keep the carousel running. The thirty horses on the carousel are cast aluminum reproductions made in the early 1970s.

The Pretty Ponies

Each horse is painted to represent a famous Virginian or industry.  Painstaking research was completed to create accurate, detailed paintings that represent events of historical significance or events in the life of the featured person. Featured Virginians include Booker T. Washington, June Carter Cash, and Patsy Cline. From presidents and Civil War heroes to singers, statesmen, and authors,  you might be surprised at who calls Virginia their birthplace.

The details on the horses are specific to the individual. On Patrick Henry‘s horse is a painting of him delivering his Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death speech. The breastplate of Lewis and Clark‘s horse is a panorama of their expedition, mountains, crossing the Mississippi, to grassy plains with buffalo.

Other horses are painted to represent the commodities Virginia is famous for, including seafood, coal, dairy, apples, peanuts, and more.

What’s a Rounding Board?

The rounding board is the panel that surrounds the top of the carousel. There are twelve sections, each showcasing two places in Virginia of interest. Chosen for historical and economic interest, the rounding board features paintings of Arlington National Cemetery, the Dismal Swamp, and twenty-two other buildings and locations throughout Virginia.

Meet the Artist

Britney Mongold grew up in Fulks Run, Virginia. She graduated from Broadway High School and studied art at Hollins College. During its first year, she joined the Back Home-on the Farm team and was instrumental in developing new educational exhibits and displays. She decided to pursue her dream of performing in the theatre and is currently a student at the National Academy of Dramatic Arts in Washington, DC.

When refurbishing the carousel began in January 2008, Britney researched the Virginians to be featured, designed, and painted each horse. It is estimated that over 50 hours were involved in restoring each horse. In 2009, she researched and completed the 24 Virginia locations featured on the rounding board.

Britney completed the medallions atop the rounding boards as a last detail to the carousel.  Native Virginia wildflowers are represented here.