The factory complex located at 180 Thompson Street in North Tonawanda is one of the last existing complexes in the United States which housed the production of wooden carousels. Allan Herschell purchased the building in 1915 and through the years enlarged it to fit his company’s needs. The building contains a large carving shop where 50 to 75 carvers worked, a woodworking shop, a paint shop, a storage area, an upholstery shop, a machine shop and a roundhouse in which carousels were assembled and tested before shipping.
The complex, which is listed on both the New York State and National Registers of Historic Sites, is a series of seven interconnected structures which once housed all of the manufacturing components of the Allan Herschell Company. The company shipped its first ride from this factory complex in 1916.
The National Register of Historic Sites nomination concludes: “The Allan Herschell Carrousel Factory achieves significance as one of only two surviving manufacturing complexes associated with the production of carousels during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. With its architectural integrity intact, the factory is a unique link with this bygone industry, which once provided one of America’s favorite forms of recreation.”
The museum opened in July of 1983, and continues to host approximately 15,000 visitors per year. We have a paid staff of four, a dedicated active Board of Trustees, and many loyal volunteers who serve as carrousel operators, gift shop clerks, admissions greeters and maintenance personnel, contributing greatly to our mission.