CHESTER, W.Va. — A “jumper” horse that once was part of the famed Rock Springs Park carousel is returning to Chester.
Chester community organizer Susan Badgley Hineman told City Council on Monday the horse recently was purchased with the help of an anonymous donor and that it will be put on display in the city building.
“I think it’s a great day for the city that we can obtain this horse,” she said. “Some of you probably rode that horse.”
The carved 1927 D.C. Muller horse once occupied a place of pride in the second row of the Rock Springs Park carousel, which was the last to leave the Dentzel Carousel Co. factory in Philadelphia, according to CarouselHistory.com. The factory closed in 1928.
The horse features a “peek-a-boo” mane and a PTC factory repaint job circa 1937, according to AntiqueCarousels.com.
Hineman said she’s been in contact with AntiqueCarousels.com proprietor Roland “Rock” Hopkins, of South Pasadena, Calif., for the last three years, waiting for the right horse and the right price.
She said it’s fitting that Chester, home to Rock Springs Park from 1897 to 1970, has a carousel horse that can be prominently displayed. The Lou Holtz/Upper Ohio Valley Hall of Fame in East Liverpool also has a Rock Springs horse as part of its collection.
Hineman said she passed on one horse that was stripped of all its paint and another that was too expensive. At a cost of $11,000, this one was just right, she said.
The horse belonged to a Michigan collector who left the collection to her daughter. “The daughter kept some of the horses, and some of them she wanted to sell,” Hineman said.
Such horses, many of which were carved by the Muller brothers for the Dentzel factory, are highly prized by collectors. A Muller “stander” from the Rock Springs carousel sold at auction for $63,500 in 1988, according to CarouselHistory.com.
Hineman said she was able to make the purchase, with the donor’s help, before the horse was listed in Hopkins’ catalog.
Now she needs the city’s help in reimbursing the donor.
“I’m hoping the community will work together so that we can pay this back quickly,” she said.
Donations will be placed in the city’s Historic Preservation Fund, but no city money is being used for the purchase, said Councilman John “Woody” Woodruff. Checks should be made payable to Chester City Hall (with “Carousel Horse” in the memo), 600 Indiana Ave., Chester, WV 26034.
A luncheon fundraiser is scheduled for May 14. Details will be announced later.
Hineman said she hopes the horse will be shipped from the seller’s home by the end of the month…