The Second Carousel at Edgewater Park, Detroit Michigan

(Abt. 1962 to 1974)
The Monarch Park Carousel in operation at Edgewater Park in 1971. It operated in the park from abt. 1962 to 1974.
Barbara Fahs Charles Collection.

The following images were taken by Rol Summit during a visit to Edgewater Park in October, 1974. This is several years after the carousel had suffered a terrible flood.

The lower portion of the machine had been immersed in a flood a few years before; the carved figures had nearly drowned. Someone had daubed stark white primer over the damaged seams and contours of the figures, adding garish black saddles and eyeliner. Nostrils were running with blood-red paint. In some attempt at protection from the weather a crude latticework of wood had been nailed between platform and rim and shrouded in clear plastic, giving the interior something of the feeling of a tomb.

The remains of the Monarch Park Carousel after the flood at Edgewater Park.
Rol Summit collection.

Surprisingly, considering the sorry state of the carved figures, the upper structure was apparently unscathed. The central paintings above the sweeps, as well as the framed mirrors below were intact. There was an unusual configuration of jig sawed scrollwork mounted above every sweep, each scroll ending with a mythical winged bird facing the center. All of these elements were not only well preserved but apparently still decorated in original paint. We photographed the upper structures and some of the inside figures. Because of the peripheral shroud we could get no perspective on the outside row figures.

At Edgewater Park. The Carousel’s Decorative Sweeps. This would have been an option at purchase.
Rol Summit collection.

At Edgewater Park. Some of the carousel’s central decorative paintings.
Rol Summit collection.

The desolation of the figures presented a portent of doom for the carousel as a whole in that era when even healthy carousels were being broken up for collectors. Sure enough, we learned that a California collector had optioned the machine within days of our visit. So that once-lovely merry-go-round simply disappeared both from view and from the collective consciousness of our fledgling conservationist group. Edgewater Park itself, like so many Detroit landmarks, fell victim to social upheavals and poverty. It closed in 1981.