Thirty-six hand-carved, hand-painted horses--all jumpers--carry revelers around and around on the Chavis Park Carousel, a gem in the WPA-era park built for African Americans in segregated Raleigh. Before Chavis Park, African Americans had only limited access to Raleigh's Pullen Park; the story was the same or worse across the state. Upon its opening, Chavis Park attracted carloads of amusement-seekers from around North Carolina to its swimming pool, ball fields, and, of course, its carousel. Development at Chavis mimicked that of Pullen, down to the colorful carousel with Wurlitzer organ.

The City of Raleigh purchased the carousel from the Allan Herschell Company for $4,000 in 1937. It was a refurbished model dating from between 1913 and 1923. Prior to its installation at Chavis Park, the carousel had been part of traveling shows. Fewer than three hundred such carousels remain in the United States; it is remarkable that two still go 'round in Raleigh.

Photo by Michael Zirkle Photography
© Raleigh Historic Development Commission

505 Martin Luther King Boulevard
ca. 1913; installed in the park in 1937

Built By

The Allan Herschell Company

Local/National Designations
Raleigh Historic Landmark


This entry is about Historic Resources in Raleigh. Initial information provided by the Raleigh Historic Development Commission. You can find more entries about Raleigh's historic resources here