MILLVILLE, N.J. — The Millville Historical Society has the unique opportunity to purchase an original carousel horse that thrilled and delighted children (and adults) at Millville’s long-gone Union Lake Luna Park.
According to historical records, Union Lake Park was opened in the late 19th century and consisted of picnic groves and recreation areas. A newspaper story in 1895 announced that the carousel was “up and running." Other rides and attractions were later added including “an electric flying horse.” The original carousel was replaced by 1913. Renamed Luna Park in 1924 but after suffering operating losses thanks to the automobile which allowed residents to travel further for recreation, shareholders voted to close it in 1928.
Today, little remains of the old amusement park attractions. Somehow, at least one of the horses from the carousel survived. The Millville Historical Society has named the horse Luna-Belle for Luna Park where she once rode.
Research is ongoing but here's what has been learned so far: Luna-Belle was likely created between 1900 and 1903 by Edward Joy Morris a builder and contractor who created a company to manufacture, amusement rides, including roller coasters, chutes and carousels starting in 1895. In 1903 Morris sold his facilities and about 200 carousel animals to the Philadelphia Toboggan Company (PTC). These carvings formed the bulk of the early PTC carousels, menagerie pieces from the Morris factory, or carved in the Morris style were found on PTC carousels through 1907, according to https://carousels.org/Carvers_Builders2.html.
Luna-Belle has been restored to its former glory and is ready to once again make Millville proud — if it can raise the necessary funds, according to a press release.
The Society plans to display Luna-Belle, the Merry-Go-round horse, at The Mansion House on Columbia Avenue. The society need to raise $10,000 to purchase the horse and prepare a proper display.
The MHS is asking contributors to make a donation of any amount. A permanent plaque will be mounted near the horse honoring Jockeys ($100), Trainers ($250), Owners ($500), and Triple Crown ($1,000).
Tax-deductible contributions can be sent to The Millville Historical Society, 200 East Main Street, Millville, N.J. 08332.
Donors will be invited to a formal debut and reception when the fund-raising project, highlighting Millville’s past is complete.
Learn more about the historical society at https://www.millvillehistoricalsociety.org/
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