Merry Go Round Museum

Merry-go-rounds have delighted the masses since the mid-nineteenth century. A calliope plays happy tunes as riders rise and fall while seated on their painted ponies and assorted wild animals. The spinning wheel seems like it could twirl endlessly as its passengers forget their worries and live for the moment. But, alas, as with life, everything comes to an end at some point. Do spirits of former carousel riders linger at the Merry-go round Museum in Sandusky?

History

Source: https://www.eriecountyohiohistory.com/old-post-office-building-merry-go-round-museum/

In order to get to the present we must first travel back in time and learn a bit about some history of the area where the museum now rests.

The first post office in Sandusky opened in 1820 in a shanty on Water Street. Succeeding sites included various locations in downtown, most probably in stores, as was the custom.

In 1857 a three-story stone building was built on the southwest corner of Columbus Avenue and Market Street to house the post office. A structure around the corner was purchased to board horses and wagons.

For many years residents had to travel to the post office to collect their mail, but in December 1, 1882, Sandusky instituted free delivery. As the city grew, the needs of the post office did as well.

A new building was erected on the corner of Jackson Street and West Washington between 1925 and 1927. The structure sat on the highest point above sea level in Sandusky.

This garage occupied the site where the new Sandusky Post Office was built in 1925. Image courtesy of Sandusky Library Archives Research Center
Old Post Office / MGR, ca. 1945. Image courtesy of Sandusky Library Archives Research Center

For sixty years the Jackson Street post office served as Sandusky’s business center, where merchants shipped and received goods and banks transferred money. During this time it also housed local offices for several federal agencies, including U.S. Customs, the National Weather Service, armed forces recruiting, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The U.S. Geological Survey disk embedded in the front steps serves as a benchmark for surveyors and scientists.

Known for its impressive neoclassical style, the building sports a colossal portico that curves across the front and commands a view of Washington Park. Fluted columns support the porch roof, ornamented with a stone balustrade and a plain entablature. The buff brick building has an attic story and a parapet. Multi-paned high transoms surmount each of the three doors, which are trimmed with brass hardware.

Outgrowing its space once again, the Sandusky Post Office moved from this site in 1986 to a new facility at 2220 Caldwell Street.

The building sat vacant until 1990, when the Merry-Go-Round Museum opened to the public on July 14. Two years earlier the U.S. Postal Service issued four carousel stamps, one of which featured the King Armored Horse from Cedar Point’s Kiddieland carousel. This particular King horse is considered to be one of the most rare and beautiful of all carousel figures.

The first day issue ceremony was held at Cedar Point. In conjunction with the event a group of local citizens assembled a display of carousel figures at the former post office. More than 2,000 people from across the nation visited the display, which prompted the group of local citizens to form a non-profit organization with the mission “to preserve and promote the art and history of the carousel.” The organization purchased the former post office building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places and preserving the building became part of the mission.

The Merry-Go-Round Museum displays artifacts that add to the public’s awareness, knowledge, and appreciation of the history of the carousel..Dentzel carving shop tools are a permanent exhibit, along with a working woodcarving shop, and a carousel machine, (circa 1939 Allan Herschell Corporation). The museum continues to seek artifacts from amusement parks, carnivals, and private individuals, and encourages long and short-term loans of memorabilia and antiques from earlier periods of the amusement and carousel industry.

As an interesting aside, an artist still makes wooden carousel menagerie. He made the mom in the sea monster family (it took him 2 1/2 years!) and right now is working on a Clarice to match a Rudolph he made previously

An historic marker was placed at this site in 2001.

Claims

The basement used to be a military customs and recruiting area. Claims are that a little girl likes to hang out in the artist’s room. She likes to throw around empty paint-mixing cups and draw on the horses when nobody is around.

The 2nd floor used to be FBI offices. People hear footsteps up there. The main floor where the carousel is used to be the post office. They say there is a custodian there who walks across the carousel and up the stairs to the second floor. It’s said that this custodian passed away from a heart attack

A worker said one evening she and a co-worker were sitting in some chairs in the lobby when something flew off the gift shop counter and onto the floor. She also said one summer all the brooms disappeared. In the fall, an artist who only works during the school year found them all piled up in a corner of her second floor studio

Investigation

March 27, 2021

It was 9 pm when we arrived at the museum. Everyone was excited and raring to get started on the investigation. Before we got started though, our host for the evening gave us a ride on working carousel inside the building. After our ride we went about setting up our equipment. We placed video cameras throughout the building to capture possible evidence. We set up cameras to capture the basement, two restoration work spaces downstairs, and the gift shop. Several team members carried digital voice recorders and we also used Rem pods and EMF detectors to sense any changes in electromagnetic fields. Once we were ready to go the team split into groups. Don, Kelly, and Fred were together. Amy, Andy W, Rhonda, and Jackie formed the other group. We utilized REM pods and EMF meters in an attempt to detect any change in electromagnet fields. Both groups conducted EVP sessions throughout the evening. At one point during the evening we noticed an orb of light moving around in one of the artists areas. We were unable to explain its origin. However, based on its movement and location we are pretty confident that it was not paranormal in nature.

Andy explores using a Kinect SLS camera

At another point during the night our SLS Kinect camera picked up something a bit odd. It showed what could be interpreted as a small child on one of the horses. Knowing that this particular piece of equipment can give false readings we can not categorize this as irrefutable proof of the paranormal. We note it and give it proper weight in light of possible natural explanations. Our evening at the museum was relatively quiet. Our analysis of our audio after the investigation did turn up something very intriguing. We captured what sounds like a child making noises in a room where it is claimed that a little girl plays with a toy racing car. It is believed that she is attached to the car. We did not hear anything at the time of the investigation.

This highlights an axiom Fringe Paranormal has always adhered to; you can not always judge an investigation by what may or may not occur while you are on site. Sometimes the best evidence is discovered later after you leave a location.

  • Don
  • Kelly
  • Fred
  • Amy
  • Andy W
  • Rhonda
  • Jackie

Investigators

Moon waxing gibbous : 99% of full : age 47%
Solar X-rays normal
Geomagnetic field quiet

Prepared by Don Collins

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