While I was having a nice visit with Aunt Bea, Grandpa Nelson did some exploring on the internet and found interesting things close by.
In Albany, just ten miles from Corvallis, is a Carousel…. a BIG one.
This beautiful piece of art, history and fun is the passion project and brain child of Wendy Kirby.
Ms Kirby wanted to have a carousel for Albany like one she remembered from her hometown of Missoula, Montana, so in 2002, she gathered support from friends, local artists and businesses, and started creating this wonderful thing. It opened to the public in 2017. At the opening, she was overwhelmed by the support she had received, and said “This is what six millions dollars can get you.”
The mechanism that turns it is 110 years old, originally from a 1909 Dentzel Carousel in New Jersey. It has been completely restored by volunteers. The 30 animals are hand carved and painted by local craftspeople and sponsored by local people and groups. These are one of a kind, because the sponsoring folks get to decide what they look like!
The singing elephant, Daisy, is a memory of the joy of music. The salmon, Chinook, was sponsored by grandparents to remember fishing with their grandson. The whole creation is a noisy, happy testament to the town of Albany and the people who live there.
And as if the carousel isn’t enough, the town built a building to protect is, as well as to house a gift shop and carving and painting shop to make more animals, and a museum of old carousel-related goodies.
We walked around and chatted with the ladies who volunteer at the shop, who call it “our happy place”. Their joy is contagious! We walked down to the Monteith River Park, where we got views of theWillamette River and some bridges. It was moody, lovely, and peaceful.
As I was preparing myself for the long trip home, feeling a bit sad that our day out was ending, Grandpa Nelson said, “How far is it to Brownsville?” And off we went!
More about that tomorrow!