North Bend Art and Industry has moved a carousel to the city, which will be the centerpiece of a planned arts center the organization is working to create along North Bend Way.
The carousel was purchased last year, but wasn’t moved from California to North Bend until last week, said Beth Burrows, founder of North Bend Art and Industry. It’s a complete carousel, minus the actual horses, which the organization will fundraise for.
“It’s going to be such a draw for our whole valley,” Burrows said.
The carousel was originally built in 1927. Daniel Muller created many of the wood carvings, panels and benches. According to Carousel History, Muller was trained at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. His attention to detail and proportions made his work highly sought-after.
It was then bought by the Dentzel Carousel Company, which outfitted it with a motor, gears and decorative plaster. It is believed to be the last carousel to be completed at the Dentzel factory, according to North Bend Art and Industry.
The carousel was donated by the Freels Foundation. But there were challenges getting the massive creation to North Bend. A press release from the organization said last year, when Ernie Jenner joined North Bend Art and Industry, he had the idea and connections to secure the carousel.
For the past three decades, the creation was stored on a pistachio farm in Madera, Calif., some 160 miles southeast of San Francisco. Getting it to Washington state took six weeks and multiple trips. On the last trip, volunteers drove to Madera, picked up the pieces and loaded them into three trailers. The cargo included a 20-foot metal axle and large gears.
When they reached North Bend, they were unloaded, cleaned, inventoried and stored. Burrows hopes to restore the carousel piece by piece. A committee was formed to plan out next steps and begin the process of carving carousel animals.
Burrows said they’re thinking of letting people sponsor animals. This will allow the sponsor to design them, and the animals will remain on the carousel forever.
She hopes it will anchor the arts center. The center will have a building for fine art, a series of buildings for hot art like welding, glass blowing and metalworking, and a farmhouse will be rehabilitated into a writer’s house.
“I can’t even find the words for how big this dream is,” Burrows said. “I wanted this property to be more than just housing. I wanted it to be where the community would come in.”
Burrows is expecting to have site plans for the center within a month, after which they will approach the city with more details. She hopes to have the project completed within five years.
“We’re all so excited about creating an art-vibrant town, and an art-vibrant valley,” she said.