In the old days, the outdoor amusement business was difficult under the best of circumstances. In much of the country, the season during which earnings for the year were made ran from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Bad weather during this crucial period ruined business and left ride owners and operators broke. Natural disasters destroyed rides and livelihoods. Amusement park fires were not uncommon, with all of the right ingredients – overloaded electrical wiring, flammable materials (wood, paint, grease) and substandard structures. Carousels burned. When the historic trail of a carousel abruptly ends, fire is usually thought to be the culprit. We know of a number of carousels that burned, and, no doubt, there were others.
Photos and postcards B. Williams collection
For pictures of the Looff carousel:
Tennessee State Fair, Nashville, TN – On the fair’s opening day, September 20, 1965, a fire destroyed the exhibit buildings and sent 18 people to the hospital. No rides were affected. No postmark.