Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Shelby Carrousel

Our friendship with Dr. Bobby Jones (Dr. Tom Bibey) first brought us to Shelby, NC but the friends we've made there and the town itself will keep us coming back for visits. Located near the southwestern edge of the North Carolina Piedmont region, Shelby is near the Smoky Mountains. It is the boyhood home of Earl Scruggs and well as of country singer/song writer Don Gibson. Within the next year or so, a museum dedicated to Earl Scruggs will be opened in the former Cleveland Country courthouse. Shelby has also become to permanent home of the American Legion baseball World Series.  It's also the home of the beautiful Shelby Carrousel.

The Shelby Carrousel
 Photo: Randy McNally

Tommy Forney, Amusement Supervisor for the Shelby Parks and Recreation Department, is also an old-time and bluegrass fiddler as well as a high school and college classmate of Dr. B.  We had last seen Tommy at the memorial jam for Dr. B in August. He urged us to come to the Carrousel, so, on a brief stay in Shelby, we found our way to the Shelby City Park where the Carrousel and a miniature train are part of the elaborate park which also includes a large outdoor swimming pool and a golf course. 

Dr. Bobby Jones' Memorial Jam

Tommy Forney

The City Park Carrousel is a beautifully restored classic carrousel dating from the early 1920's.  It has thirty-two jumping horses and two chariots. Music is ordinarily a recording of carrousel music, but for our visit they turned on the beautiful 1923 Artizan Band Organ, which has been converted to use Wurlitzer rolls. The original location of the carrousel is unknown, but it was purchased through a grant from a local family and moved the Shelby in 1951, where a restoration project was begun. The Anne Dover Bailey Pavilion was built and occupied in 1998. Rides on the carrousel are $0.50 a person.

Unrestored Antique Lion

 A Treat for All Ages

Photo: Tommy Forney

If you find yourself in Shelby, NC, take a few minutes to reconnect with the child in all of us.