ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Oak Bluffs, Ma, A Nostalgia Trip on a Carousel

Updated on May 29, 2011

Flying Horses Carousel


A recent visit to the island of Martha’s Vineyard found me staring into the eyes of a beautifully painted carousel horse. His eyes were mesmerizing. I found out later the oxide eyes each contain a tiny hand-carved animal. This is a tradition from the original carousels in 1876.


The ‘Flying Horses Carousel’ in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts is the oldest platform carousel still in operation. It was one of the original works built by the Charles W. Dare Company of New York. In 1876, the first home for this beautiful carousel was Coney Island, New York  In 1884, Attorney F.O. Gorden moved the carousel to Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts.  It was moved again in 1889 by the then owner, William Davis, to its present location.


Stepping away from my up close and personal view, I watched as the horses circled while the young and old tried to grab rings from an extended metal carrier. There are two ring carriers, one on the outer circle and one on the inner circle. The person who gets the brass ring will receive a free ride. The old fashion organ music sent my mind back into the bygone days when life was simple.


Martha's Vineyard Preservation

In America carousels have been called; whirligigs, flying horses, hobby horses and merry-go-rounds. In England they are called roundabouts or gallopers. The English carousels turn clockwise while the American ones turn counterclockwise.  The English say they have the proper direction because you mount the horses the proper way from the left.


If these magnificent horses were not saved by the Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust in 1986, I would probably be looking at another sweatshirt shop.  A group of people wanted to purchase the carousel and destroy it by selling the horses to antique carved horse dealers. The Trust maintains the carousel.

Historic Landmark

The carousel contains 22 wooden horses with real horse hair tales and manes. The horses do not go up and down.  The horses were all restored by Rosa Regan. She is the premier carousel conservator in the United States. The center of the carousel has a painted historic panel done by a Dare factory artist. In 1923 a Wurlitzer Band Organ was a welcome addition.  They play tunes from your grandparents’ era on original paper rolls. The carousel was named to the National Historic Landmark in 1987. 


Another carousel is located in Watch Hill, Rhode Island.  Check out your area to locate the closest one to you. You might just get the brass ring.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Dianemae profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Summer is almost here and I look forward to visiting again. You did some great work, Thanks.

    • profile image

      Jane Chittick 

      6 years ago

      I was the founding Executive Director of the Vineyard's Historical Preservation Society (Trust) in 1980 until I left in 1992. I led the fundraising efforts to purchase the carousel in 1986. I also hired Rosa Ragan to restore the horses the following year and traveled to North Carolina to oversee Rosa's work. We ran the Carousel from 1986 onward.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I remember vivdly taking my young daughter to the Flyin' Horses just about nightly in July and August. That was in the late 70's and early 80's. She's 34 now. Where does the time go? Thanks for bringing back the memories with this hub. Voted up and awesome.

    • ThelmaC profile image

      Thelma Raker Coffone 

      7 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA

      Thanks for the informative hub. Keep up the good work.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)