What Comes Around, Goes Around: The Legacy of Paragon Carousel

Paragon Carousel Celebrates 90 Years in Hull

Ryan Frankel, Editor

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August 2018 marks the 90th anniversary of the Paragon Carousel, and even today, the legacy of this historic South Shore landmark continues. Kellianne Frankel, development manager for the carousel, said her mission is to “help draw more people to the carousel.”

Paragon Park in Hull, Massachusetts, opened in 1924 with ticket prices starting at just 10 cents per person. The park’s most beloved attraction, the carousel, was built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company in 1928, with each horse being uniquely handcrafted. “It was a big deal in its heyday–people from Boston and the North Shore would come by steamship that would dock in Hull,” Frankel said, “It was huge for the town of Hull.”

Paragon Park closed down in 1984, taking away many memories with it. The park’s roller coaster was auctioned off and currently operates at Six Flags America in Woodmore, Maryland. “They paid over one million dollars just to remove, take apart, and transport the roller coaster down to Maryland. It was such a big deal to the people of Hull because the land was sold and developed into condos,” Frankel said. “A lot of people, not just in Hull, but in Boston and on the South Shore, have some memory or connection to this amusement park,” she added.

So how did the town of Hull manage to save an old carousel? After the park closed, a group of investors came and bought the carousel in 1986. They moved it one block down the road and decided to operate it for everyone. “The investors did nothing to restore damages, or fix the clock tower,” Frankel said. “After 10 years, they decided that they didn’t want to operate it anymore, so they put the carousel up for sale again. The town of Hull was really upset about that, and a bunch of townspeople came together to save the carousel,” she explained.

Frankel is part of the group that helped saved the carousel. “That’s when ‘The Friends of the Paragon Carousel’ all started. It’s a nonprofit organization that negotiated with the town of Hull to help save the carousel,” she said. Hull town officials gave a one million dollar loan to the carousel, and from 1996 to today, the organization is still paying of the debt. “It’s still a lot that’s needed, around $150,000 is left to pay off, and when you think about it, when they started off with a million, they’ve done a phenomenal job,” Frankel said.

Frankel recalled a conversation she had with a married couple a few weeks ago. They told her how much the carousel means to their family. She said they donated all of the money they originally intended to put toward their wedding anniversary to the Paragon carousel. Frankel hopes the carousel will create many more happy memories for children on the South Shore as it continues to go around for future generations.

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