Carousel of Dreams Horses Are The Last Set By One of The Most Famous Carvers Ever

The Carousel of Dreams is in the final stages of construction and board members say the horses are the works of art and backbone to why this carousel will be so unique.

These horses were made in 1910 by Charles Carmel, one of the most famous carousel carvers of all time.

There are only four other Carmel carousels in the United States and the Carousel of Dreams will be the only one west of the Mississippi River.

Carmel is known as one of the five master carvers who came to the United State in the late eighteen hundreds.

Ken Johanning, a board member and Carmel expert, said one Carmel horse can go for about $15,000.

Johanning said trying to get a whole set is a nearly impossible, and he knew when he set out on this project there was only one set left in the entire world and it belonged to a woman in New Mexico. 

"There were 15 cities trying to get this last Carmel," Johanning said.

Johanning said what makes a Carmel horse different is the detail. You can even see the veins in the horses neck.

The horse facial expressions came from inspiration Carmel got while living above a fire station in New York.

"They were all horse drawn fire trucks, that's why you'll see our horses have more of a flare because those spirited horses would come out and he copied that." said Johanning.

He said if the horse has a missing tooth that means it is a male horse.

In the 1900's they didn't want ladies to have to see the male horses private parts, so they got rid of them and distinguished the males from the female by the missing tooth.

Johanning said the horses are all made out of bass wood which has a heart leaf and it's said that's where the horse gets it's heart.

This carousel will also have the traditional brass ring dispenser where you get a free ride if you pull the brass ring.  

"That was a big thing for america back then because America always has to have that little gimmick so that why our horses go counter clockwise because most people were right handed," siad Johanning.

Along with the 45 Carmel horses and three chariots there will be a cougar and a husky.

"It has a red apple carved and whoever wins the apple cup will wear that on the carousel for a year," said Johanning.

There is a traditional wedding horse, the lead horse with the coat of arms and even a seahawk themed horse.

Board Chairman Eric VanWinkle said these horses are truly pieces of art and he can't wait for the public to awed by their beauty.

"We are going to surprise people twice the first time when you see it and then when you go see someone else's. This is world class art this community has never seen before at any level," said VanWinkle.