WEIRTON – The restoration of the Hollywood Junior Merry-Go-Round carousel that thrilled kids on shoe-shopping outings at Marlinn’s shoe store in Weirton decades ago ” blocked “ a little, but the enthusiasm for it was not expressed “pasture.”
The nostalgia piece is still on the agenda at the Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center at 3149 Main Street, and progress has been made, according to executive director Savannah Schroll Guz, but other museum plans have taken precedence. .
“People have suggested that I clone myself, and honestly, the idea is really starting to look better and better,” Schroll Guz joked. “My clone can work on things while I’m asleep and vice versa,” she added.
âOriginally, we were hoping that everything would be finished by the fall of this year, but since we had so many exciting and large-scale projects alongside our day-to-day responsibilities, the carousel restoration had to move temporarily. in the background. Schroll Guz noted.
âOnce we get into the Smithsonian’s next traveling exhibit ‘Crossroads: Change in Rural America,’ which opens January 31 at 5:30 p.m. and kicks off five weeks of exciting programming, we can focus on the ponies again and finish. the project.
“The ponies” are Beauty, Flika, Fury, Ginger, King and Silver, components of the carousel ridden by children during visits to Marlinn’s shoe store at 3236 Main Street, their equine names based on popular radio and television horses from the ‘era.
“Most of the metal parts of the carousel have been cleaned, have undergone an anti-rust treatment and have been painted and sealed” Schroll Guz explained the progress of the project. “We’ve started to focus on smaller horses now, and this is, by far, the longest – but rewarding – part of the process,” she said.
âIf readers followed us on Facebook, they’ll know that once we started sanding down the heavy varnish, old latex paint, Sharpie marker, and previous makeover details from four of the six ponies, we found out the original cast of Merry-go – round characters, “ she said. âWe found out that Beauty was actually Silver, Silver was actually Fury, Brave was originally Flash, and Fury was actually Trigger. Each of these names was taken from popular characters from radio, television, books and / or movies. Trigger was, of course, Roy Rogers’ horse; Silver was the Lone Ranger’s horse; Fury was the horse featured in a 1955-1960 television series that featured actor Peter Graves; and Flash is May. -be based on Tex Ritter’s horse, whose name was White Flash â, said Schroll Guz.
âGinger, who serves as our model, was named after the fictional sorrel mare who befriended Black Beauty in the once popular novel by Anna Sewell. Based on our research, we were able to determine that in the original Hollywood Junior rides, Fury would have been black with a white line art, Flash would have been orange with a black line art, Silver would have been a very light gray with black line art, and Trigger would have been some sort of desert rose, or a brownish rose with a white line art â, she continued.
âFinally, as one of the ponies that did not undergo a makeover, Ginger is and will remain her original yellow with black lines. We will not sand or modify any of the ponies that remain in their original condition. origin, like Ginger and Blaze â, she said.
âIn order to make sure that each horse’s characteristics are captured and translated accurately, we created a stencil template, using Ginger as a template. “ she said, noting that, âAfter the transfer, cleaning and connection lines are needed. Most of this detailed work can only be done by hand.
In an interview earlier this year while the project was underway, Schroll Guz presented some history of the carousel, noting that between the late 1940s and mid-1960s, Blynn’s and Marlinn Shoe stores in the downtown had a Hollywood Junior Merry-Go-Round that local kids enjoyed when their parents took them out to buy shoes.
âHere in Weirton there were actually two carousels, both of which were stored for many years in a building just a block north of the museum’s current location. In early 2015, Dennis Jones bought one of these carousels for our collection â, Schroll Guz said of the museum’s former executive director.
“The other carousel is closer to its original mid-century appearance, while the carousel in our collection is probably the one that was used the most frequently due to its ‘beloved’ condition,” she said.
Blynn’s was also a downtown business, about a block from Marlinn’s. âBased on comments from members of Weirton History Huddle, Blynn’s also had a carousel. Because ours is used a lot and everyone seems to remember their experience at Marlinn, we suspect ours is from the Marlinn store â, Schroll Guz noted.
She identified her purpose as documenting the object through photographs and notes, so that the accumulated history of the carousel could endure in a booklet that travels with it and “return the piece to its original appearance – appearance. that so many people in the community will recognize.
“This, of course, involves research, and all of this work is part of our museum’s mission to” preserve our history and our culture for future generations. “
Over the years, four of the small horses have undergone at least two makeovers, she said.
“We know there was more than one because the previous Sharpie marker lines went through the top layers of paint.” she remarked. âThe horses were repainted in pastel colors – baby blue, pink and white. After that, their strokes were drawn with a black marker – probably a Sharpie – and accented with a watery blue paint. On top of that, varnish was applied, and this is evident from the yellowed drip patterns on the sides and bottom of each pony, â she continued.
In a Facebook post on the project earlier this year, Schroll Guz noted, âWe want to keep records of the object itself as we go along. The accumulated history of this particular carousel is important to our record keeping, and it tells us the story of its longevity. And by that we mean that it has had a long lifespan and has been used often (a fact that we can all attest to). When it started to show wear, it was repaintedâ¦ and repainted in order to make it usable by generations of children. As we work, we keep a log of the details we find on close inspection, and we will create a booklet that will accompany the carousel through time, so that that particular part of its history is not lost when we do. will restore it to its original appearance.
If the public can follow the progress of the project through posts on Facebook, they can continue to be involved, for example through financial support.
Schroll Guz expressed his gratitude for the donations received to date, adding that further support towards the completion of the project would be a welcome Christmas present. To donate to the carousel restoration, contributors can write a check to the Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center and mail it to PO Box 517, Weirton WV 26062 with “carousel” in the memo line of the check. “We also have Paypal which you can access at weirtonareamuseum.com”, she said.