The Family Tree of The Kit Carson County Carousel
It’s a wonder to think about all that has happened in the world from the time when our carousel first began to turn its magic. Just like longing to learn the history of one’s family, we are fascinated by the history of The Kit Carson County Carousel.
When carousel conservator Will Morton began restoration of the 46 figures of the Kit Carson County Carousel (Philadelphia Toboggan Company No.6) in 1979, he was surprised to find that most of the animals on our world-famous carousel are marked with a PTC No.7 or PTC No.8. Only ten of our animals are not marked with No.7 or No.8. These ten animals, including the hippocampus and the lion, don’t have a machine number at all.
The Philadelphia Toboggan Company was still in its infancy when our beloved Kit Carson County Carousel PTC No.6, was produced for Elitch Gardens in Denver. The story goes that an Elitch Garden’s owner traveled to Philadelphia and picked animals “off the shelf” for their almost finished carousel shortly before it was delivered out west in 1905.
Philadelphia Toboggan Company opened up for business in 1904 with a head start by negotiating the purchase of the E. Joy Morris Company, another carousel maker in the Philadelphia area. According to PTC records, machines 6, 7, and 8 were all built in 1905. Are our ten figures without numbers part of the original E. Joy Morris inventory? All indications point to yes, but no one knows for sure. It is also possible some or all of our figures marked No.7 or No.8 also came from the E. Joy Morris inventory, or they could’ve been carved by PTC, but from E. Joy Morris patterns that would’ve been included in the sale of the company to PTC.
Just like family history, we often rely on stories and speculations, to piece together how things might have happened. If only we could give PTC No.6 a DNA test to know exactly how it came about! No matter, PTC No. 6 is sure to bring joy and magic to riders for centuries to come.