BUTTE - It’s been more than 40 years since Butte’s beloved carousel was destroyed by fire. But, soon, the horses will rise from the ashes.
“This has been a dream from a group of people for over 22 years now,” said Larry Hoffman, a volunteer working with the project. “Inspired by the carousel that used to be at Columbia Garden.”
The Spirit of Columbia Gardens group is recreating that famous carousel at Stodden Park. They started constructing the 8,600 square foot structure in 2015 and recently got the carousel mechanism spinning, which will feature 33 hand-carved horses. They expect to have the facility completed soon.
“Well, we’re still shooting for St. Patrick’s Day. You get more and more clutched up the closer that gets, so there’s still a lot of details to do here,” Hoffman said.
The carousel is pretty fun even without the horses, but it’s really going to be something when they put the horses on and the project is completed, because it’s going be one of many great, new enhancements to Stodden Park.
“The new aquatic facility next door, you know, the $6 million that the Washington Foundation is putting into Stodden Park,” said Hoffman. “This will be a real destination here in Butte. The parking lot will be enlarged, there will be a second entrance to the park here, there’s a real fancy playground going in across the way.”
The carousel group started in 1996 with a dream to rebuild this merry-go-round and over the years they’ve lost many of their elderly members.
“That’s a sad story, we lost one of our main electricians here in December, Tom Davies,” said Hoffman. “It really brings home the fact that a lot of these guys aren’t around anymore.”
But they hope the new carousel will create fond memories for a new generation.